In 2015 the Washington State legislature expanded its investment in healthy, safe and energy efficient low-income weatherization. It allowed, for the first time, improvements that help children and adults combat asthma. This initiative is Weatherization Plus Health. In its pilot phase from 2016 to 2017, the program provided $2.3 million to eight grant projects around the state. We expect program evaluations to be done by the second half of 2018..
Weatherization Plus Health combines energy and cost-saving weatherization improvements with measures that help to improve the home environments for children and adults who have asthma. It uses community health education partnerships for client recruitment, assessment, and intensive home education and follow-up. This strategy has been shown to reduce health risks and healthcare costs for at-risk families.
Weatherization Plus Health Pilot Experience
During the pilot project experience, we had a chance to develop community health partnerships and to test our models on the ground in eight locations around the state. Our unique services were well-received. Low-income households with high energy bills and family members suffering from asthma and COPD are seeing a difference in their health.
Each community’s needs are a little different. But we’ve tried to provide a common set of measures. The measures include; Green Cleaning Kits, dust mite covers, walk-off mats, carbon monoxide detectors, HEPA vacuum cleaners, carpet removal and floor replacement, moisture and mold reduction, ventilation improvements, gutter and downspout repair and replacement.
We finished our pilot projects around the state in July 2017. Over 500 households were served. The WSU Energy Program is documenting the impacts and challenges of our models, and is helping us evaluate our options for future Weatherization Plus Health work.
In 2018 we are gearing up to expand Weatherization Plus Health to allow all of our agencies statewide to participate. We look forward to refining our approach to providing services that positively impact our clients with asthma and other respiratory health issues.
Mr. Shaw is a senior citizen with a disability. He spent his life working very hard to support himself and now survives on Social Security and disability income. When we first met, he was gasping for breath just sitting and talking with me. Getting up and moving about the home to show me some of his concerns with his home was taxing on him, evident from the wheezing and his eventual excusing himself to go sit back down. His house was in very bad shape, and so was his respiratory health.
Healthy Homes Resources
Weatherization Plus Health Resources
Facts about asthma in Washington state
Low-income families experience more asthma.
Children have the highest rates of asthma.
64,000 emergency room visits for asthma in 2010.
$73 million per year for asthma hospitalizations; public funds pay for 60 percent.