5/21/2013 10:18:00 AM Organization hopes to increase awareness of hazards in homes on Hopi Rez
HOPI - Multiple tribal departments, Hopi villages, federal agencies, and organizations are joining forces to create a public outreach strategy for addressing housing repair issues on the Hopi Reservation. Hopi Healthy Homes Collaborative (HHHC) hopes to increase awareness about potential health threats from home hazards and to provide strategies for creating healthier living environments.
The U.S. Department of Housing indicates that home hazards such as mold, moisture, lead dust, and poor indoor air quality cost the U.S. tens of billions of dollars annually in health costs and contribute to lost work productivity and school days for children. A general list of health issues stemming from home hazards includes: asthma and allergies, cancer, heart disease, poisoning, and unintentional injuries. American Indian communities are especially at risk with higher rates of housing inequalities and health issues than other parts of the United States.
Joe Seidenberg, with Red Feather Development Group, said there have been numerous positive strides in addressing housing related health issues on the Hopi Reservation. However, until now there has been limited coordination between the various groups providing services to the community.
"By forming positive working relationships and sharing ideas and resources the HHHC will be able to increase the effectiveness of programs for the community," Seidenberg said.
Recently, the HHHC received a week of training from the National Tribal Healthy Homes Center that is now being used as a catalyst in developing their outreach strategy. During the training the group prioritized indoor air quality, energy conservation, insect and rodents, lead-radon-asbestos, septic tanks, and hazardous chemicals as priority housing related health issues needing attention.
The collaborative is planning a Healthy Homes Day Camp that will begin to educate Hopi youth on the topics listed above. The group hopes to produce a series of audio productions in English and Hopi that link Hopi traditional values with healthy home concepts. HHHC is also planning a series of workshops that will provide hands-on demonstrations of do-it-yourself home repair techniques and educational materials on how the topics are connected to health and wellness. Additional programs and products under discussion include a healthy homes resource directory, housing fair, healthy homes resource library, youth conservation corps and direct repair services.
HHHC meetings are on the first Wednesday of the month from 9-11 a.m. at the Hopi Housing Authority.