Chicago Healthy Home Inspection Collaborative

In Chicago, too many of our youngest residents become ill as the result of poor and neglected housing. However, housing-related illnesses such as childhood lead poisoning and uncontrolled asthma can be prevented. To this end, Chicago Healthy Home Collaborative (CHHIC) is a new collaborative working to develop a health-focused approach to Chicago’s home inspection program and ensure that all Chicagoans live in safe, healthy, and affordable housing. Building on Loyola’s 2014 Summit to Advance Healthy Homes & Healthy Communities, CHHIC (1) develops and implements strategies for proactive building code inspection and (2) convenes organizations and individuals to advance and promote a health-focused building code inspection program for the city of Chicago. 

CHHIC targets two Chicago neighborhoods, North Lawndale and Englewood, where aging housing stock and poverty have intersected to create a built environment that is often hazardous to residents’ health. Within these targeted communities, CHHIC plans to conduct educational outreach on home-based health hazards, focusing on lead hazards, pests, mold, and other issues related to asthma. Furthermore, CHHIC will engage all relevant individuals, including residents, property owners, and public health officials, to develop pro-active plans to address these issues.

On March 2, 2017, Loyola convened community organizations and individuals at the Integrating Health into Chicago’s Building Code meeting. Participants engaged with local and national experts to examine Chicago’s current building code inspection model and consider alternative health-based models that proactively address substandard housing and promote affordable housing. Click here to read more about the event. To see photos from the event, click here.

Integrating Health into Chicago’s Building Code meeting commenced a series of community work group meetings, called Proactively Addressing Substandard Housing (PASH), that is developing action-oriented strategies for making housing throughout Chicago safe, healthy, and affordable. To assist with this effort, PASH members established two subcommittees focusing on (1) making Chicago’s municipal code more proactive and health-focused and (2) proposing a model for home health inspections.  These two subcommittees meet monthly.

Please join us at our next PASH meeting, which is being scheduled for the beginning of 2019, to build a community agenda that promotes a health-based home inspection model in Chicago. All Chicagoans, particularly vulnerable children, need housing that does not threaten their long-term health via lead, contaminated paint or water, mold, pests, among others. Community members, public health and housing professionals, building owners and managers, public officials, advocates, state and local government staff, faculty, students, and researchers are encouraged to attend. Be involved in the solution to strengthen our community! Click here to learn more about the event and RSVP.

This project is funded through a grant to the Metropolitan Tenants Organization from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Members of the CHHIC include the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Department of Public Health, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Elevate Energy, and National Center for Healthy Homes.

For more information about Loyola’s role in this initiative, please contact Adam Avrushin, Associate Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children. General inquiries about the CHHIC  should be directed to John Bartlett, Executive Director, Metropolitan Tenant’s Organization.