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 Oakland, CA, in the largely immigrant community of Havenscourt, many tenants don’t report problems with their homes for fear of eviction or rent increases. This exacerbates the already high rates of asthma-related ER visits, especially in children. With their BUILD award, Healthy Havenscourt sought to reduce Havenscourt’s asthma health disparities by focusing on upstream policies regarding unhealthy housing conditions and toxic stress. The collaborative supported a resident-centered program called, Healthy Housing Champions, to advocate for healthy housing policies. Along with advocating for policy change, Healthy Housing Champions also administered a pediatric ACEs screening and social determinants of health tools to identify residents’ social supports and connect them to community resources.

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

  • Increase the leadership capacity of five Health Housing Champions around healthy housing and policy advocacy, including participating in the city’s redistricting process.
  • Have 961 touchpoints with residents through the Healthy Housing Champions program.
  • Hold nine presentations by Healthy Housing Champions to advocate for language accessibility.

“The Healthy Housing Champions were already experts on how housing impacts health. Connecting their lived experience to the policies that allow these challenges to persist helped them shift from wanting to find solutions on a case-by-case basis to taking action to address underlying systemic issues. ” —Brandon Kitagawa, Regional Asthma Management & Prevention

Read more about Healthy Havenscourt’s impact in Oakland, CA, listen to Anita Kumar talk about the collaborative below, and stay tuned weekly for more BUILD community stories! All stories to date can be found here.