The Bronx Healthy Buildings Program is:
- Organizing tenants and landlords to eradicate asthma triggers in the home.
- Retrofitting buildings to improve environmental conditions
- Creating high-road jobs for local residents
- Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
- Montefiore Medical Center
- The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
In partnership with:
- Emerald Cities Collaborative
- NY Lawyers for Public Interest
- Councilman Ritchie Torres
Obstacles to Health and Identified Health Challenges
- Aeroallergens and rodent infestations, which are primary contributors to asthma (nearly a third of the roughly 170,00 residents in the North Central Bronx are under 18 and at serious risk for asthma)
- Poverty and the high cost of care relative to income makes health care inaccessible
- High asthma morbidity, emergency room visits, hospitalization, school and work absenteeism
The Bronx Healthy Buildings Program located in the Bronx, New York focuses on residents in multifamily buildings in the Northwest and Central Bronx, including the neighborhoods of Williamsbridge, Fordham, Bedford Park, Belmont, East Tremont, and Morrisania. For these communities, unsafe housing, unemployment and low wages and a lack of education are barriers to the overall health and well-being of the residents.
The vast majority of Bronx residents in unsafe housing are renters who rely upon their landlords to ensure safe and healthy living conditions. Limited access to financing for infrastructure improvements and outright disregard for tenant safety lead to serious building disrepair, unsafe housing conditions and inefficient energy usage. Only exacerbating these challenges, local residents are often uninsured and have limited access to quality healthcare.
The Bronx Healthy Buildings Program aims to reduce asthma-related hospital visits and address the social determinants of health through education, organizing, work force development, and building upgrades. Using several data sources, the Program will pinpoint distressed buildings that are drivers for high rate emergency room visits. Energy audits, building inspections, and tenant organizing will identify needed repairs and opportunities for energy efficiency improvements.
The Program will secure funds for local contractors to complete the work. Additionally, the program will recruit, train, and hire tenant leaders to be Community Health Workers; they will be responsible for the education of other tenants on behavioral interventions and asthma self-management practices.
Finally, the Program will evaluate the health benefits and cost savings to the healthcare system after the implementation of this project.