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ARTICLE SOCIAL JUSTICE, RACISM, PREVENTION - A MUST READ
AFRICAN AMERICAN HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
The Goal of the African American Health Improvement Initiative is to support health and wellness
- Provide free health screenings for all residents
- Immediate placement of carbon dioxide detectors in all units
- Relocation of affected residents
- Provide and review residents healthy home and rights checklists in understandable format
- Use resources - National safe and healthy housing coalition
- Coordinate linkages to NCDHHS Low Income Emergency Services and NCCares360
- Document and post Resident Rights
- Verify required linkages between NC Human Relations and Durham Human Relations
NORTH CAROLINA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION
1318 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1318 (919) 789-5930 866-324-7474
Defects Hazardous to Life, Health or Safety (24 CFR § 966.4 (h) and 24 CFR § 35.1345 (a))
The lease shall set forth the rights and obligations of the tenant and the PHA if the dwelling unit is damaged to the extent that conditions are created which are hazardous to life, health, or safety of the occupants. PHAs are required to either make repairs to such conditions within a reasonable period of time or to abate the situation (usually by moving the tenant's family).If the tenant caused the defect, the tenant may be charged for the cost of the repairs. If the damage creates conditions that might expose the residents to lead-based paint hazards, the PHAs must take additional steps to ensure their safety while repairs are being made (e.g., barring the worksite or temporarily relocating the residents).clxviii
If the PHA cannot make repairs quickly (because, for example, a part is needed that the PHA cannot obtain), the PHA must offer the tenant a "replacement dwelling unit",if available.clxix In some situations the defect to the premises is so serious that the replacement dwelling unit is a Section 8 voucher or a motel unit. In this section of the lease, the tenant agrees to accept any replacement unit offered by the PHA. (Remember, though, that if lead-based paint hazards are being controlled in the family's unit, the temporary unit must be free of such hazards.)
If the PHA can neither repair the defect nor offer alternative housing, the PHA must abate the rent for the unit in proportion to the seriousness of the damage and loss in value as a dwelling. The PHA need not offer rent abatement if the tenant has refused alternative housing or caused the damage (24 CFR § 966.4 (h)(4)).
Finally, if the danger caused by the unit's condition is severe (the PHA cannot repair it and the alternative accommodations are not provided), the lease is terminated and any rent paid for the month is returned to the tenant, except no abatement if tenant rejects alternating accommodations or if the damage was caused by tenant, household or guests.
Note: PHAs should be aware of state or local law abatement remedies that may apply in these situations.
Letter Urges HUD to Require Carbon Monoxide Detectors at All HUD-Assisted Housing
Mar 11, 2019
NLIHC and other organizations sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson urging him to require carbon monoxide detectors at all HUD-assisted housing. The letter calls on the HUD secretary to: Issue emergency guidance to public housing agencies (PHAs) and private owners of HUD-subsidized housing that: Requires the immediate installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all program units that have gas-powered appliances, generators, or other devices.
Reiterates PHAs' and owners' obligations to adhere to state and local building and public health codes.
Immediately propose rules amending the inspection standards in all of HUD's programs to include the lack of a working carbon monoxide detector as an immediate "fail" item and a life-threatening emergency.
The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning occur almost immediately and can result in death in a matter of minutes. In addition, exposure to carbon monoxide can cause permanent brain damage, life-threatening cardiac complications, and fetal death or miscarriage.
CASE: Allen Benedict Court
All 26 buildings at Allen Benedict Court were evacuated due to carbon monoxide leaks and exposure.
For decades, HUD's Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has warned about the dangers of carbon monoxide as a poisonous gas that can be fatal at high levels of exposure. HUD has yet to require, however, the use of carbon monoxide monitors in all of its housing programs. Federally assisted housing residents are therefore at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and subsequent death due to inspection practices that are not in line with prevailing science and the best practices described by OLHCHH and other federal agencies.
Since 2003, at least eleven federally assisted tenants have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, including two very recent deaths of public housing residents at the Allen Benedict Court in Columbia, SC. All 26 buildings at Allen Benedict Court were evacuated due to carbon monoxide leaks and exposure. Many of the Allen Benedict Court residents are still living in hotels or with relatives or are struggling to find housing that will accept vouchers.
Carbon monoxide detectors are already required for certain voucher-based units. And as recently as October 27, 2017, HUD issued regulations implementing the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016" (HOTMA) provision that requires HUD to classify inoperable or missing carbon monoxide detectors as "life-threatening" violations of the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) for the Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Voucher programs. In addition, the Universal Physical Conditions Standards–Voucher demonstration project includes the lack of functional carbon monoxide detectors as a life-threatening condition. HUD's incorporation of carbon monoxide detectors in its tenant-based rental assistance programs represents the agency's acknowledgement of the life-threatening danger of carbon monoxide exposure.HUD should now extend these protections to all federally assisted homes to fulfill the statutory duty to provide safe and decent housing.
The letter to Secretary Carson was written by Emily Benfer, the director of the Health Justice Advocacy Clinic at Columbia Law School and Deborah Thrope, supervising attorney at the National Housing Law Project. More about lead hazard control and healthy homes is on page 5-6 of NLIHC's 2018 Advocates' Guide.
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Early Life Experience
Early childhood experiences can have powerful influences on an individual's health, not just in childhood but throughout life. Children born premature and underweight are more likely to face health problems than their peers, which can later lead to other factors which negatively impact health.
Education has profound health effects. More education makes an individual more aware of healthy and unhealthy choices and makes it easier to make healthy choices.
For centuries, poverty has been linked to ill health. It is not difficult to understand why the poor would have worse health than people with greater economic means. We now know that even middle-class people generally have poorer health than the most affluent.
Work can influence health in many ways, including through links both with health care insurance and with physically hazardous exposures in the workplace.
Poor-quality housing poses a risk of exposure to many conditions that can contribute to poor health, such as indoor allergens that can lead to and exacerbate asthma, injuries, and exposure to lead and other toxic substances.
Characteristics of communities can influence health in many direct and indirect ways. For example, neighborhoods can be physically hazardous because of air and chemical pollution, traffic, lack of sidewalks and safe places to exercise, and because of crime.
Race and Ethnicity
Racial and ethnic background has profound effects on an individual health primarily because of the different social and economic experiences advantages and disadvantages that go along with race and ethnicity.
The general economic environment can affect health by affecting levels of unemployment, wages and benefits, barriers to educational attainment, and availability of social and health services.