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.
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 tool was found to be better designed for outside resource referrals and less so for OHA, whose referrals are predominantly internal.
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.
The pilot was evaluated by Category One Consulting. You can view the full report here.
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.
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.