Rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Identifies Steps for Weatherization Plus Health in Connecticut

Thursday, April 18, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Waterbury, CT

A newly released rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) offers an evidence-based set of recommendations to guide state officials as they decide how best to invest federal, state, and utility ratepayer funds to boost energy efficiency and health, as Connecticut (CT) moves to reach its goal of weatherizing 80 percent of its housing stock by 2030. The rapid HIA identifies a priority list of health and safety repairs expected to produce positive health benefits, that can be integrated into energy upgrade work, and that will help reduce health disparities. It was presented at two public briefings, before Connecticut's Energy Efficiency Board and to the HIA Study Committee of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. See the full HIA.

"It is our hope that the health and safety measures identified in the HIA, will become part and parcel of the work done by the CT Community Action Agency Weatherization and Home Energy Solutions teams when they are in homes performing energy efficiency measures," said Edith Pollock Karsky, executive director of the CT Association for Community Action (CAFCA), adding that working with health, environmental, social services, utility and energy professionals on the HIA process was educational, timely and very rewarding. Chairman of the Home Performance Alliance of Connecticut, Peter Callan noted that "As principal of Lantern Energy, a home performance company in CT, MA and RI, I witness first hand on a daily basis the numerous health hazards we are living with, from low level gas leaks, CO, asbestos, mold, lead. The Health Impact Assessment conducted by Mike and his team shed an important light on this topic and brought it to the forefront of our industry and we applaud this important effort."

CAFCA and Weatherization Assistance Program sub-grantee New Opportunities, Inc. led the development of the rapid HIA, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Plus Health initiative, implemented by the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP). Technical assistance was provided by NASCSP, the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a contract with the American Public Health Association, and Tohn Environmental Strategies.

The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) represents the states in their work to improve the lives of low-income families and strengthen local economies. Our members administer the federally funded Community Services Block Grant and the Weatherization Assistance Program that serve millions of American families in communities nationwide.

The Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA) is a network of community action agencies that builds communities, promotes public policy and develops leaders to end poverty in Connecticut.

The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) is the preeminent national nonprofit dedicated to creating safe and healthy housing for America's families. NCHH develops scientifically valid and practical strategies to make homes safe from hazards and to protect low-income families at highest risk.

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