Homes - National Asthma Public Policy Agenda

By adopting policies that create safe home environments, we can help those suffering from asthma and other lung diseases.

People with asthma should have access to affordable, safe, healthy, and climate-resilient homes and neighborhoods. "Homes" include apartments and other multi-unit housing, group homes, shelters and institutionalized settings, as well as single-family houses. Homes often contain known asthma triggers, including secondhand smoke, dampness and mold, cockroaches and dust mites. Harmful pollutants generated from the use of e-cigarettes and the combustion of tobacco products, wood and fossil fuels for heating and cooking should be eliminated from homes. Housing codes are public health tools that can and should be used to improve indoor environmental quality in homes of residents who have asthma.

Here are the four housing-related policy recommendations in the National Asthma Public Policy Agenda.

Supporting Strategies:

  • Adopt and proactively enforce healthy housing standards in state and local housing codes.
  • Use integrated pest management (IPM) techniques in multi-unit housing.

Supporting Strategies:

  • Provide training for housing code enforcement officials on applying codes to address indoor environmental quality problems.
  • Provide proactive inspections of rental housing.
  • Provide authority and capacity for local health departments to take legal action to enforce indoor environmental quality-related codes and laws (including nuisance laws).
  • Provide capacity within state and local housing inspection agencies to offer specialized services to identify and remedy indoor environmental quality problems where families with asthma reside.
  • Improve legal and other recourse for tenants to ensure enforcement of local laws (including judicial education, increasing legal services and tenant education) without risk of displacement.
  • Provide capacity for state and local health departments to offer guidance to property owners on identifying and remediating indoor environmental quality problems, including information on smokefree policies.

Supporting Strategies:

  • Pass state and local laws and regulations to require smokefree multi-unit housing, including e-cigarettes and marijuana.
  • Expand policy with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to require all federally supported multi-family housing to be smokefree.
  • Develop and disseminate guidance on best practices for enforcement of smokefree policies while minimizing displacement and eviction.
  • Provide resources and services to support smokers wishing to quit.
  • Collaborate with tenants’ rights and other community-based organizations to develop and implement policies and best practices.

Supporting Strategies:

  • Identify substandard public and other federally assisted housing buildings and renovate according to best practices for healthy indoor environmental quality.
  • Green building guidelines should incorporate healthy housing standards.
  • Housing authorities should incorporate financing tools, including grants, loans and tax credits, to ensure safe and healthy properties.
  • Ensure that federal policies for the funding of housing rehabilitation encourage following best practices for improving indoor environmental quality for housing rehabilitation and weatherization.
  • Housing authorities should incorporate climate resilience into building construction, rehabilitation and repair with considerations of siting of residential buildings and flood protection; materials; heating, cooling and ventilation; energy sources; and zero-emission vehicle fueling infrastructure.

Page last updated: November 17, 2022

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