Omaha Housing Advocates Come Together for Healthy Home Inspection Pilot

Overview

The Health + Housing pilot was created by a multisectoral collaboration to ensure healthier homes for more Douglas County residents in Omaha Housing Authority (OHA) single housing units. The pilot’s inspection process improvement program focused on training OHA’s home inspectors and Family Support Services staff in the use of a healthy home assessment tool developed by Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA). The pilot grew out of a 2017 Member Council meeting held by Live Well Omaha (now The Wellbeing Partners) which identified “health and housing” as a priority. At that meeting Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance and Housing and Urban Development showed maps of old housing stock and Dr. Adi Pour shared that the maps could be overlaid so the health department could see the highest incidence of chronic disease. The group began meeting to find a way to collaborate along with Omaha Housing Authority, Douglas County Health Department, Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition (MOTAC), and the City of Omaha Planning Department.

Tools:

The pilot was designed to wrap a home with supportive resources, provide rapid remediation of any health concerns, and build OHKA’s evidence-based Hazard Evaluation And Rating Test (HEART) tool into the already high-quality process that Omaha Housing Authority used for home inspections. The HEART Tool measures seven dimensions of a healthy home and was used to assist OHA inspectors in assessing properties with a lens on healthier housing options. NowPow, known for web-based development of closed-loop referral processes in healthcare, modified the process to “make the home the patient” by building in the HEART Tool and embedding referrals to improve OHA processes. The NowPow The pilot was conducted in two phases with five houses per phase beginning September 2019 and ending January 2020. The inspection process included a pre-test, inspection and grading of each property, making needed remediations, reinspection and grading of each property, and a post-test. Tenants received a gift card and a leave-behind laminated document, Maintenance of a Healthy Home Checklist, allowing tenants to check off items as they are completed throughout the year to keep their homes healthy.

 Evaluation Findings:

  • The participating homes saw a significant improvement at post-assessment on the dimensions found to be at more hazardous levels at the pre-inspection (dry, safe, contaminant-free, maintained).
  • Omaha Housing Authority plans to work with Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance to adopt the HEART Tool into regular practice for initial inspections.
  • Tenants were educated on the qualities of a healthy home, and also engaged in conversations with home inspectors about which issues are Omaha Housing Authority’s responsibility vs. tenant’s responsibility.
The pilot was evaluated by Category One Consulting. You can view the full report here.

What’s Happening Post-Pilot:

Omaha Housing Authority and Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance are developing a process for recruiting Omaha Housing Authority tenants to sign up for the HEART Tool inspection. Both hope to build in post inspections with Omaha Housing Authority tenants pending funding. Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance has created an online dashboard to track and analyze this future HEART Tool data. Partners like Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance and MOTAC are exploring participation in future Omaha Housing Authority tenant and landlord briefings to educate people on the benefits of healthy, smoke-free homes and buildings. The Nebraska Action Coalition - Future of Nursing will continue to share the Healthy Home checklist and modify the draft Knowledge Survey to offer a 1-5 scale answer system for improved use among tenants. The Wellbeing Partners continues to connect partners and serve in the Health + Housing space.

Gratitude:

Area partners saw this idea through to implementation by giving their time and expertise. Thank you to City of Omaha Planning Department, Douglas County Health Department, Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA), Omaha Housing Authority (OHA), Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition (MOTAC), Nebraska Action Coalition-Future of Nursing, and UNMC College of Public Health. This project was made possible with funding from WELLCARE of Nebraska.

Continue reading...


Mental Health and Anti-Racism Resources

Our organization is committed to fighting racist societal structures within the social determinants of health that limit the ability for Black communities and immigrant, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized populations to thrive in all areas of wellbeing, so that all people and places can thrive. More recently, this work includes working with the Regional Health Council to address mental health in the community and a specific mental health anti-stigma campaign, which we expect to fully launch in August.

Continue reading...


Letter from the CEO

We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, James Scurlock, and countless others and stand alongside our community in a cry for change. Senseless deaths are happening every day due to racism, in addition to the disproportionate impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for minority families, and there is so much work to be done. The Wellbeing Partners is committed to be a part of the solution.

Continue reading...


Supporting a Child’s Understanding of Diversity

I am a white woman, married to a white man, raising a white daughter.  Over a year ago, when my daughter was 11 months old, we were shopping at the dollar store.  As we got into line, the black woman in front of us turned and smiled at us. We said hello. She commented on how precious my daughter was, and I thanked her. My daughter then started reaching and squawking for a mylar balloon that was in the checkout lane. Without skipping a beat, the woman ahead of us turned back around and said, “I want to buy one for her—which one does she want?” I tried to tell her no, that it was only a dollar, and that I could get it. She insisted, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “I want to buy one for her. I want her to know that women who look like me are friendly.”

Continue reading...


The Domino Effect of Needs and Wellness

While the working world figures out how to safely return workers to the workplace and workers figure out how to engage with a new workplace normal, people are increasingly stressed by the aftershock of the Coronavirus. While humans are resilient and adaptable, this Coronavirus situation seems to keep shifting and changing in new ways, constantly adding more frustration and anxiety to an already difficult situation.  

Continue reading...


Who is Taking Care of You?

Sometimes it feels as if everything around us is dominating our attitude, our choices, our behaviors, our health. If you don’t take care of your own health, who will? Is your body appreciative of the care you’ve been providing? There is no better time than today to start taking better care of you. 

Continue reading...


I Play, You Play, We All Should Play

Many of us have heard this well-loved quote from this well-loved children’s advocate. It may even be “old news” to you that play is important for children. But have you considered that play may “be the work” of adulthood as well? We’re going to talk a little bit about play and its impact on wellbeing, for both children and adults—why was play so important to Mr. Rodgers and why should it be important to you?   

Continue reading...


A Week of Mindfulness Meditation

I love a good self-care moment and, like our friends from Grief’s Journey said in their blog, What is Self-Care, Really?, everyone’s self-care looks different. For me, self-care usually means watching Netflix or reading a book in my room with my favorite candle lit and a cooling face mask working its magic. However, COVID-19 has impacted my self-care just as I’m sure it has yours.

Continue reading...


Addressing Anxiety and Shedding Perfection

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and I wanted to share part of my story.  I was diagnosed with anxiety in 2017, just a few months after having my first child. Becoming a mother broke open my emotions with such power; it knocked me down HARD. Before my baby, I had a false confidence that I was in control and that no one had to know when I was struggling. Feeling down? Just be positive, Sheena! Don’t let people doubt that you got this! But it wasn’t working. 

Continue reading...


What is Self-Care, Really?

Grief’s Journey is a member of The Wellbeing Partners who offer free grief services for all ages. They launched several COVID-19 support resources, including a guide for talking to children about COVID-19, a guide for saying goodbye when you can’t hold a funeral, and weekly online education about ambiguous grief, types of loss, supporting grieving youth, and more. Consider donating to them to support continued services during the pandemic. 

Continue reading...

1 2 3