Legacy Grantees (2008-2009)

Legacy Grants 2008-2009

City of Berkeley“Berkeley Zaps Asthma (BZAP)”
The overall goal of BZAP was to reduce the burden of asthma inequities among Berkeley’s African American and Latino populations and increase the capacity of residents of South and West Berkeley to identify, prevent and control in-home environmental sources and triggers of asthma. An important objective of the project was to create a list of recommendations for the City Housing Authority based on the outcomes of the in-home assessments done by the Asthma Community Health Workers (ACHWs).

The project was able to train and hire five residents of South and West Berkeley to become (ACHWs) to conduct the in-home assessments. 27 in-home assessments were conducted; ACHWs developed a personalized Asthma Trigger Reduction Plan with each client; each client was given a resource folder containing educational pamphlets on asthma and asthma triggers, as well as the Resource Directory, which summarized free or low-cost resources that were available to assist them in reducing their asthma triggers. The ACHWs referred residents, families and property owners to existing community resources for asthma education, case-management, smoking cessation, trigger amelioration, reduction of water intrusion, housing advocacy and other services. ACHWs served as liaisons and acted as advocates to attain follow-up visits with City of Berkeley Public Health Nurses, mental health services, inspections from the Rental Housing Safety Program and to seek approval to contact landlords to take advantage of weatherization and other resources. The ACHWs subsequently conducted follow-up calls and/or home visits with each client to ensure they were linked to appropriate resources.

The recommendations made to the City Housing Authority included:
• Evaluation of Section 8 housing inspection program. The City of Berkeley Housing Authority inspectors and case managers and were responsive to tenant concerns and identified problems. Our limited experience demonstrated that Section 8 inspectors were not as responsive or diligent.
• Tenant Advocacy Training to address the reluctance of residents to agree to allowing contact their landlords. Landlords must give written approval to make structural improvements and take advantage of the of weatherization and energy improvement funding,
• Greater collaboration and cooperation with landlords to encourage the utilization of available resources to improve housing stock, thereby decreasing asthma triggers, such as City of Berkeley Weatherization Program, the Community Energy Services Corporation and other free and low cost services,
• Resources to make small in-home improvements such as reduction of mold and moisture intrusion. to reduce resident asthma symptoms without approval of their landlords,
• Consider designating mold as a “nuisance.”
• A campaign to reduce smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.

Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership – “Tackling Asthma in the Home”
The “Tackling Asthma in the Home” project was carried out by Breathe California in San Mateo County in partnership with the San Mateo County Asthma Management Program (SCAMP). The purpose was to provide support to home visitors of various existing programs within the county to integrate an environmental assessment for asthma into their home visits.

• They developed a tool that could simplify the process of identifying and addressing asthma triggers in the home of the clients of participating home visitors including a talking points and a notes section. Prior to the trainings they were able to refine handouts and trigger tips for clients being used by SCAMP to address various levels of literacy.

• They trained 57 home visitors that exist in the county who participated in learning about asthma and indoor air quality issues to support their clients’ needs. As a result of the trainings, participants appear to understand, even when undiagnosed in young children, what symptoms constitute the likelihood of asthma. This was the benefit of including an asthma 101 portion in the trainings that was facilitated by a local physician from the San Mateo County Asthma Management Program (SCAMP).

• Some of the home visitors have begun to contact the SCAMP program more for resources, support and referral. Some have become more active on the asthma coalition or in related projects. Their participation in the dialogue that has begun around healthy housing in San Mateo County is essential. The San Mateo County Asthma Coalition’s (SMCAC) Community Group has embarked on their housing priorities which directly complement the work and participants in this project. Home visitors now have access to flyers in English and Spanish that educate property owners and tenants about mold issues and their rights and responsibilities.

• The Housing and Habitability Training presented by Bay Area Legal Aid representatives was hosted by this project as a result of initial feedback received from Level I participants to address some questions about the resources that exist for their clients and to better understand the legal processes around habitability issues.

Northern California Center for Well Being – “Creating Healthy Homes”
The Northern California Center for Well-Being completed the design of the toolkit, “Creating Asthma Friendly Housing”. Center staff worked closely with members of the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) sub-committee of the Sonoma County Asthma Coalition to discuss and review the design of the toolkit. The toolkit had its debut at the Healthy Homes training for landlords, home inspectors, and health workers facilitated by the Sonoma County Asthma Coalition.

Center for Well-Being staff partnered with Burbank Housing Community Services to promote the toolkit and proposed healthy home changes that may be incorporated by the agency. A 30 minute Toolkit training was provided to the 50 property mangers; all property managers received a toolkit and discussed what elements could be used by their agency including policies surrounding secondhand smoke and volatile organic compounds. Burbank Housing agreed to use “No VOC paint from Kelly Moore in all units, and has opened a new multi-unit apartment complex in Santa Rosa with four buildings as smoke-free and one building designated as a smoking building.

Additionally, staff shared the Creating Healthy Homes toolkit to the county-wide Affordable Housing Coalition and coordinated with PEP Housing who owns 12 low-income properties in Petaluma to later provide toolkit training with PEP Housing resident service coordinators. Center staff completed toolkit training for Vigil Light apartments.

The Center’s success in developing the partnership with Burbank Housing was due to bringing the health concern of asthma to light within the housing industry. Burbank felt less threatened with the topic of asthma and saw an opportunity to provide better health for their tenants. Success was also facilitated by the collaborative work of the Asthma Coalition, Tobacco Coalition and the Center as players in the Indoor Air Quality sub-committee of the Sonoma County Asthma Coalition.