The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) has joined forces with Habitat for Humanity International, Rebuilding Together, and CLEARCorps to form EnergyPlusHealth.
In an effort to make healthy and energy-efficient housing more accessible across all income levels, the new coalition intends to equip volunteers with the tools that are deemed necessary to make health and energy-efficient repairs "many low-income homeowners need but can't afford." The pilot program will provide training, tools, and technical materials for the volunteers performing the rehabilitation and repair work.
Many homes in greatest need of energy upgrades do not receive federal assistance due to the serious health and safety risks that must be addressed prior to energy upgrades, according to NCHH. Such hazards include structural issues, lead paint hazards, and mold and moisture issues. EnergyPlusHealth will work to construct a volunteer-based home repair program model to meet this void in supporting low-income homeowners' healthy housing improvement projects.
NCHH is leading the effort by developing a two-day training course, which includes an assessment checklist for volunteers to use when evaluating homes for health hazards or energy deficiencies. The training will provide instructional worksheets with step-by-step instructions for repair, maintenance, or rehabilitation work that can be completed onsite by volunteers and identify which tasks require skilled professionals.
NCHH and EnergyPlusHealth have identified the following seven pilot partners: Rebuilding Together Philadelphia; Rebuilding Together Roanoke, Va.; Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley, Va.; Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, Md.; Omaha (Neb.) Healthy Kids Alliance (CLEARCorps); Rebuilding Together Omaha; and Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs, Iowa.