April 2017 Newsletter

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Dear Healthy Housing Colleagues,

Last week the RIAHH Steering Committee set our priorities for 2017. Come help out at our monthly meetings, which will be run as working sessions with healthy housing leaders from across the state, from non-profits and state agencies and community groups.

Here's an outline:

RIAHH is building an active, engaged network of healthy housing professionals to amplify the impact of each other’s work. RIAHH advances member agency agendas, streamlines referrals to each other’s programs, facilitates connections to support agencies as they apply for grants or seeks assistance with improving their programs, and supports other collaborative work. RIAHH provides critical information to healthy homes agencies and advocates through our network of over 500 members using our website and online direct email and social media tools.


Over the next year, RIAHH is committed to:

  1. Establish a healthy housing information hub at HousingWorksRI:
  • Through our partners and members, finalize and disseminate a guide to Healthy Housing for all home visitors, including community health workers, energy efficiency auditors, lead inspectors, building code inspectors, and more; 
  • Create a healthy housing policy-makers brief that is endorsed by our member state agencies and provides direction for advancing healthy housing policy and interventions across Rhode Island;
     

         2. Create and distribute tools to promote healthy housing across the workforce:

  • Define the educational need for healthy homes content in home visitor and building trade professional trainings; 
  • Create a standardized Rhode-Island based healthy housing training curriculum that can be integrated into related training such as lead hazard prevention, community health worker trainings and energy efficiency auditor training; and 
  • Build a customized e-referral system to enhance connectivity among healthy homes interventions.

Interested? Send us an email or come to our monthly meetings, which are the Third Wednesday every month, 12:00-1:30. Location may change depending on how many people come!

We look forward to seeing you!

Sincerely,

RIAHH Steering Committee

After 10 years, RI Lead Regs get Legislative Attention

We are excited to release our brief on the current public health effects of childhood lead poisoning and our recommendations for regulatory changes. The brief was used by the House Finance Committee at their March 2nd hearing on amendments to Article 22. Please share it with policy makers and others who would benefit from a brief overview of how lead is managed in Rhode Island. 

 

The full brief is here.

February 2017 Newsletter

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Dear RIAHH Colleagues,

In these ever-changing times, it becomes increasingly clear how critical housing is to all of the issues we face as a society: health, social justice, environmental preservation, and community safety. How can anyone work on these challenges without a healthy home to return to at night? Our collaborative model has become more important than ever: it allows us to work together to leverage scarce resources, combine efforts and direct our energies to support each other. By seeking shared agendas, we can advance our own agendas even further than we would on our own. 

With this view, we are happy to announce that RIAHH will transition to become a project of HousingWorksRI at Roger Williams University. Betsy Stubblefield Loucks will continue to support our work, and we will benefit from the leadership of Brenda Clement and the institutional support of the larger university.

The Alliance is building strength. We are excited to announce that Helen Anthony has stepped up as interim Chair, since John Eastman had to step down. We are grateful to John guiding us through key transitions this past year. Happily, John will remain on the Steering Committee. Tom Armstrong, a CLAP board member and formerly affiliated with the DEM, also joined the Steering Committee.

So stay tuned, and tell us what you are doing to support safe, healthy, energy efficient homes.

Sincerely,

RIAHH Executive Steering Committee

Get Involved: New Amendments to the Rules and Regulations for Lead Poisoning Prevention

The Department of Health is holding a public meeting to discuss its plans to amend the Rules and Regulations for Lead Poisoning Prevention. The amendment will pave the way towards implementing the RI Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. Read all about the proposals here!

There are many ways to make your voice heard on these decisions, including a public meeting held at the Department of Health Office on Monday, January 23 at 2pm. If you can't make it, feel free to also send comments on the amendment to Cheryl LeClair (3 Capitol Hill, Room 209, Providence, RI, 02908, cheryl.leclair@health.ri.gov) by Wednesday, January 25th. See our "Events" tab for more details.

RIAHH is back in action! Here's the Low-Down

Dear Colleagues;

The Alliance is back! December's newsletter will catch you up on changes in RIAHH leadership and then dive into describing actions that you (and all of us) can take to promote healthy housing in Rhode Island. 

Since its launch in 2014, the Alliance been a collaboration among people from state agencies, non-profits, academic institutions, and businesses who care about healthy and sustainable housing. Now that the Alliance is two years old, the Steering Committee has made some changes to its leadership and staffing structure. With much gratitude to GHHI for their foresight and energetic leadership to found the Alliance, the Steering Committee decided to shift the role of backbone agency to a Rhode Island based provider.

In July, the Steering Committee released a request for proposals for a new backbone agency or consultant. After careful deliberation, the Steering Committee awarded the role to an independent, Rhode Island-based contractor, Betsy Stubblefield Loucks. As most of you know, Betsy was the most recent GHHI employee to fulfill GHHI’s responsibilities to the Alliance. Betsy left GHHI in May in order to launch her own business as a strategy consultant to local Rhode Island projects that address health and environmental issues.  

The Steering Committee has also seen a change in chairpersons. Elizabeth Tobin-Tyler of Brown Medical School provided sound leadership, vision and inspiration to the Alliance for the past two years. Liz notified the Steering Committee that she would not seek a new term in April, and stayed in her role until the end of August. We are indebted to Liz and will miss her! John Eastman of Rhode Island Housing has generously stepped in as interim chair until we are resettled and can identify a co-chair. 

Next, the Steering Committee is excited to announce a few new members: Roberta Hazen-Aaronson, the Executive Director of the Childhood Lead Action Project; Matt Banoub, owner of A-Ten Energy; Helen Anthony, of Handy Law, LLC, and Brenda Clement, the new Executive Director of HousingWorksRI at RWU.

With these changes, the leadership of the Alliance remains strong, and is glad to have these new faces on board and to get back to work!

Sincerely,

Executive Steering Committee:

John Eastman, Chair, Rhode Island Housing

Helen Anthony, Handy Law, LLC

Matt Banoub, A-Ten Energy

Brenda Clement, HousingWorks of RI at RWU

Roberta Hazen-Aaronson, Childhood Lead Action Project

Brian Hull, City of Providence Office of Community Development

Michelle Kollett-Almeida, Department of Health

Darlene Price, Office for Housing and Community Development

Margarita Robledo, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative

Gregory Schultz, Department of the Attorney General

Healthy Housing = Affordable Housing: Vote Yes on 7!

Rhode Islanders will vote on November 8 on Question 7: an affordable housing bond of $50 million. If you support healthy housing,  vote yes on Question 7 to support affordable housing! more information is here and below.

  • Investing $50 million in the construction of 800 affordable homes and apartments will help thousands of Rhode Island families, seniors, and veterans struggling to make ends meet in this difficult economy.
  • About half of renter households cannot affordably rent an average-priced 2-bedroom apartment in any Rhode Island city or town.
  • Half of Rhode Island renters, 33% of home owners with a mortgage, and 20% of home owners without a mortgage are considered cost burdened, meaning after paying for housing costs there’s little money left over to pay for basic living needs.

 

February 2016 Newsletter

Healthy homes can create healthy families—and a healthy Rhode Island. Sadly, we saw this winter what kind of damage a failed system can do in Flint, Michigan. GHHI and its partners have offered expertise to help that community recover, but they have a long road ahead. A recent article on lead poisonings in NJ and Flint, MI describes a cautionary tale and discussion of lead in RI.

 
This issue of the RIAHH newsletter reviews several projects that target the healthy housing puzzle in Rhode Island, from affordability to energy efficiency to social justice to jobs. RIAHH exists to support for all of these different initiatives, and so we describe them here in order to cross-promote and hope that the larger healthy housing community will take action to support these initiatives.

Please send news or events that you’d like to see in the next issue to Betsy Stubblefield Loucks (eloucks@ghhi.org).


-The RIAHH Steering Committee

 

To see the full newsletter, click here.

November 2015 Newsletter

This is a jam-packed newsletter, which means our state is very busy working on healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. Before we dive in, we wanted to offer heartfelt thanks to Russ Johnson, who is leaving Rhode Island Housing to join a development firm in his home town of Newport. Russ has been instrumental in the work of the Alliance, and he will be missed! The wonderful thing about the work we all do is the people we get to work with! We hope you find this newsletter helpful for staying up to date and connected.

 

-The RIAHH Steering Committee

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