Weatherization Plus Health (Wx+H)
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. Since then, we’ve continued to grow the program, serving larger portions of the state. By 2021 we hope to integrate Weatherization Plus Health as a regular service with our energy saving Weatherization Program.
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. Read their Implementation Report here.
Pilot Program Impacts
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.
Faces of Weatherization Plus 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.
We made 64,000 emergency room visits for asthma in 2010.
Washington State spends $73 million per year for asthma hospitalizations; public funds pay for 60 percent.
Pilot Program Health Impacts - Pierce County Case Study
Our pilot program collaboration between Pierce County Human Services and Tacoma/Pierce County Public Health provided early confirmation of significant health and quality of life improvements for households with asthma and COPD. The Pierce County Health Homes Study released in January 2019 documents those results.
2018 - 19 Program
In 2018 we began to expand our Weatherization Plus Health work to our full network around the state. Now in 2019, 14 local agencies are investing $1.3 million targeting work on over 300 homes. We look forward to refining our approach to providing services that positively impact our clients with asthma and other respiratory health issues, and making it available around Washington state in the next two years.