The DC Healthy Housing Collaborative (DCHHC) is a multi-sector coalition seeking to address substandard housing conditions that contribute to significant health issues affecting District of Columbia residents.
The Collaborative convenes a broad range of partners representing government agencies, healthcare, public health, health insurance providers, housing services, legal services, policy advocacy groups, financial institutions, community members, and many others, united in pursuit of policy and systems changes that will lead to healthier housing conditions.
A Timeline of Our Work
In 2018, IPHI, YACHAD, Breathe Easy and LISC received a grant from the now DC Health Matters collaborative to pilot a home assessment and remediation project to support families with children with Asthma to have asthma triggers in their home remediated. This funding also supported the staff time to begin convening the DC Healthy Housing Collaborative. The results from the small pilot proved that remediating homes had some correlation with children’s hospitalization due to Asthma. With this funding DCHHC Partnered with DC Health Matters and the National Center for Healthy Housing to train 20 managed care, housing, health, community members and city agency personnel.
In 2019 members of the Healthy Housing Collaborative received a grant from Fannie Mae to design and implement a virtual home visit program to assess home asthma triggers. Children’s National and Yachad worked side by side to bring medical and housing expertise into the homes of our neighbors. This virtual model came about just in time for the coronavirus pandemic--when meeting in person to address home health hazards became increasingly out of reach. specialists into the people’s homes together virtually. The pilot culminated in Promoting Healthy Housing for Children with Asthma through a Virtual Home Visit Program, a white paper coauthored by the Collaborative and published by Fannie Mae in 2021.
The Collaborative ramped up our efforts to become the epicenter of healthy housing discourse. We bolstered these external efforts by continually educating ourselves on how to be the best change-makers possible. We explored funding models such as the Collaborative Approach to Public Goods Investments (CAPGI) and met with the National League of Cities to gain insight from hard data and case studies across the nation. Through meeting with numerous stakeholders, we moved the needle on:
Distributing information about home health hazards across literacy levels
Identifying specific housing remediation needs in DC, and
Training parents to identify home health hazards affecting children.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the Collaborative was well positioned to respond to the rising need for remediation as people spent more time at home and thus, present with home health hazards. To rise to the occasion we:
Created videos and web content addressing asthma and lead
Mobilized multi sector partners to address children in the District at disproportionate risk for lead exposure and asthma through a grant with the Lead-Safe and Healthy Housing for DC Kids grant from DC’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE).
Advocated successfully for the DCRA to address specific healthy housing related issues. As a result, DCRA established the Department of Buildings.
Held a forum for Community Health Workers
Began designing a city-wide housing remediation program with technical assistance from Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.
In 2021, we drafted a Strategic Plan that focuses on engaging community members, connecting them to resources to obtain housing remediation and activating them to use their power to advocate for healthy housing issues. We grew our membership to include more advocacy organizations--the NAACP and Empower DC. Toward the end of the year, members of DCHHC received a second round of funding from Fannie Mae. Children’s Law Center is partnering with Children’s National and Yachad to map out homes in DC that have asthma triggers.
The Collaborative’s mission is to work in partnership with other organizations and communities to ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy due to DC’s housing conditions.
We envision a DC where all housing promotes health, wellness, safety, and is affordable. DC will be a city where all are welcome and can thrive in powerful, resilient and well‐resourced communities.
The Collaborative works to reduce and ultimately eliminate harmful household exposures in DC, especially among residents with low to moderate incomes. The goal is to ensure that all District residents have access to affordable, well-built, and healthy housing. To accomplish this goal, we identified two priorities for strategic action:
To strengthen and expand community agency by lowering barriers community members and organizations face when pursuing remediation and increasing locally-led advocacy.
Sustainable Funding Streams
Obtain sustainable funding for healthy housing efforts through relationships with private entities and through advocacy at the local and national level for policy changes that would allocate significant funding for healthy housing needs.
Collaborative Governing Structure
The Collaborative is led by an Executive Committee made up of organizational representatives and healthy housing leaders. The Institute for Public Health Innovation is a core member of the Collaborative and serves as the backbone organization.
Manager, Marketing, Communications, & Community Health Programs
Kathy Zeisel, Esq.
Senior Supervising Attorney
Scott Bruton, PhD
Sr. VP, Housing Policy, Research & Development