Over the last three years, BUILD awardees have been working toward addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity in their communities. To commemorate the end of our third cohort and spotlight their impactful work, we will be sharing each of our 18 communities’ stories — highlighting the partners’ collaborative approach to creating meaningful change in their community, the challenges they faced, and the transformative impact of these efforts for residents.

In the city of Greensboro, North Carolina, predominantly low income and African American residents continue to bear the physical consequences of an inequitable housing system. Rated the twentieth most challenging place to live in America with asthma by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in 2021, Greensboro tenants have been forced to live in a state of survival. The combination of limited income, proportionately significant housing costs and the lack of affordable housing has left households with limited funds for other basic needs, including health care and home quality improvements, and ultimately, affected the next generation of Greensboro youth, represented in non-disputable levels of childhood asthma in school.

Greensboro’s BUILD collaborative, the Collaborative Cottage Grove, helps to create a replicable model to address childhood asthma exacerbated because of unhealthy environmental and housing conditions across the city. Working with community members, policy makers, and organizational partners, they advocate for city level policy changes to effectively combat poor housing conditions and as a result, improve the school attendance and performance of low-income and African American children living in unhealthy environments.

Over the past three years, the Greensboro BUILD community has been able to:

  • Collaborate with 13+ schools and school nurses through the Guilford County Department of Health to combat childhood asthma amongst vulnerable youth;
  • And conduct one-hundred healthy home inspections in the past year.

“The project proves changing environmental conditions to reduce asthma triggers must not only be about behavioral changes but system and environmental change.” —Josie Williams, Greensboro Housing Coalition

Read more about Collaborative Cottage Grove’s impact in Greensboro, NC and stay tuned monthly for more BUILD community stories!