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Lee Jones
(206) 220-5356 (work) or (804) 363-7018 (cell)
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FOR RELEASE
Thursday
August 15, 2013

ALASKA NATIVE TRIBAL HEALTH CONSORTIUM ONE OF 15 ORGANIZATIONS NATIONWIDE TO WIN HUD FUNDS TO REDUCE HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARDS IN HOUSING
Consortium wins $743,044 in HUD Healthy Homes funds to improve indoor air quality to protect children against respiratory disease in four more southwestern Alaska Native villages

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is one of 15 organizations nationwide today awarded a total of $10.5 million in in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds designed to protect children and other vulnerable groups from health hazards in their homes.

The Alaska Native Tribal Consortium has been awarded $743,044 to monitor and improve indoor air quality in at least 30 homes with a high incidence of children with respiratory disease in four more Native Villages in southwestern Alaska. (SEE PROJECT SUMMARY BELOW)

This funding highlights the link between housing and health and develops cost effective methods for mitigating residential hazards. HUD's grants are being awarded to academic and non-profit research institutions studying new methods to recognize and control residential health and safety hazards such as asthma triggers, bed bugs, mold and radon.

HUD's Healthy Homes Technical Studies (HHTS) Program supports new approaches to improve the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of methods to evaluate and control housing-related health and safety hazards. The program, part of HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative, is particularly focused on the health of children and other vulnerable groups. The grants announced today supplement the $98 million in grants HUD awarded in May to protect thousands of children from lead and other home hazards.

"Our homes should be restful and safe environments for all, but too many of us suffer from preventable injury and illness due to unsafe conditions in our homes. Some of us, such as children and seniors, are more easily harmed by residential hazards, which is why it's critical that we develop cost effective methods of protecting them from hazards in the home," said Jon L. Gant, Director of HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. "These grants will support important research that can help all of us identify and control those things in our homes that can cause or contribute to injury or illness."

HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative promotes safe, decent, and sanitary housing as a means for preventing disease and injury. There is an emerging body of scientific evidence - to which these new grants will contribute - linking health outcomes such as asthma, lead poisoning, and unintentional injuries to substandard housing. Housing of all types and ages may contain hazards. Creating healthier housing promotes the health of people of all ages, but especially our most vulnerable, and thus has the potential to save billions annually in health care costs. Everyone needs a healthy home and some of the most serious health problems start in their home. There are special reasons to focus on the home environment:

  • On average we spend about 70% of our time in our homes.
  • Children's play and interactions potentially expose them to toxins such as lead.
  • Millions of U.S. homes have existing hazards such as deteriorated lead-based paint, elevated radon levels, or pest infestation.

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium will use its $743,044 in 2013 Healthy Homes Technical Studies funds to build and expand upon a pilot project funded by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, undertaken in 2011-2012, to improve indoor air quality through the implementation of low-cost household remediation in four southwestern Alaska Native villages. The Consortium's Division of Environmental Health and Engineering, in collaboration with regional health care providers, will select four more villages reporting a high incidence of childhood respiratory disease for the continued testing of low-cost home-based interventions to decrease air pollutant levels in thirty new residences over a two-year period. Measures of air quality include fine particulates, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and relative humidity. In addition to air quality measures, the project will develop educational materials and provide home-based education to teach and reinforce practices known to reduce indoor air pollutants.

The following is a state-by-state breakdown of the funding announced today:

Grant Recipient* State Award
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium AK $743,044
The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois IL $747,566
Sinai Health System IL $749,931
American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest IL $690,558
Tulane University LA $748,610
University of Massachusetts Lowell MA $749,999
University of Maryland, Baltimore County MD $749,856
The Children's Mercy Hospital MO $748,727
North Carolina State University NC $735,264
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey NJ $342,905
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey NJ $687,000
Board of Regents, NSHE, obo University of Nevada, Las Vegas NV $650,000
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York NY $722,378
Case Western Reserve University OH $749,952
The University of Texas at Austin TX $683,805

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