OHKA Case for Support


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This document was produced by Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance to help demonstrate the need for our community to invest in healthy housing for our children.

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OHKA Case for Support

  1. 1. 5006 Underwood Ave | 402-934-9700 | www.omahahealthykids.org For references visit www.omahahealthykids.org 2013 OHKA CASE FOR SUPPORT C A S E F O R S U P P O R T
  2. 2. CONTENTS 02 WHO WE ARE 04 UNHEALTHY HOMES 06 LEAD 10 ASTHMA 14 IN THE HOME 20 OUR WORK 567children in Omaha had high lead levels in 2012 8.7% of school-age children in Omaha currently have asthma 20.9% of children with asthma in Omaha missed three or more school days in the past year due to their asthma 1
  3. 3. WHO WE ARE Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance is a nonprofit organization that works to create a safe and healthy environment for all families in Omaha. Our main goal is to bring awareness and education to families in the city about environmental hazards, green and healthy homes, and lead poisoning. We believe that education is fundamental for empowering people and creating change. The betterment of all communities in Omaha is what moves our daily work. We strive to create environmental equality in Omaha for all by offering education on health hazards in the home, tenant legal rights, environmental testing, and information on the community resources available in the city. Through our services, we intend to empower people and give them voice, knowledge, and power to strive for change in their own homes and communities. WHY HEALTHY HOMES We believe that a healthy home contributes not only to the health of the family, but to the health of the entire community. A healthy home means fewer school days missed due to asthma attacks, or fewer lead-poisoned kids placed in special education. It also means reduced costs for special education, emergency room visits, utility bills and overall health care. WHO WE ARE 3
  4. 4. UNHEALTHY HOMES UNHEALTHY HOMES Poor people, children, racial minorities, the elderly, and disabled people are at a higher risk of living in substandard housing where they are greatly exposed to lead, pests, air pollutants, contaminants, and social risks 70% With people spending an average of 70% of their time inside their homes, poor air quality, humidity, structural problems, and exposure to contaminants inside put families at a greater risk of developing illnesses 5
  5. 5. • Learning Disabilities • Lowered IQ • Mental Retardation • Attention Deficit Disorder • Behavioral Problems • Dental Cavities • Hyperactivity • Developmental Delays WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHILD IS LEAD-POISONED? LEAD WHAT IS LEAD? Lead is a heavy metal which is highly toxic for humans. It is a neurotoxin and does not play any healthy role in our bodies. The main source of lead is substandard housing. Old paint that is peeling and chipping creates lead dust. Lead dust is heavy, so it settles quickly and is difficult to clean. Younger children are usually exposed to lead through hand to mouth activities. Lead dust is often on floors, window sills, and toys, so it is more accessible to small children. African American children are 5x more likely to be lead poisoned than Caucasian children THE LIKELIHOOD OF BEING LEAD POISONED • Autism-like Symptoms • Asperger-like Symptoms • Sensory Integration Disorder • Hearing Loss • Impulsivity • Stunted Neuron Growth • Altered Brain Plasticity Poor children are 8x more likely to be poisoned than upper income children African American children Caucasian children Upper income children Poor children Lead poisoning is the #1 environmental hazard to children 7
  6. 6. Blood lead concentrations between 1 and 10 µg/dL result in an average of a 7.4 IQ points lost. A lowered IQ in children increases the need for enrollment in special education services, reduces the likelihood of high school and college graduation, lowers lifetime earnings, and greatly increases propensity to engage in violent criminal activity. CHILDREN POISONED BY LEAD ARE: LEAD COSTS During a 6 year period, the cost for lead poisoning is the sum of the costs for medical treatment ($11-$53 million), lost earnings ($165-$233 billion), tax revenue ($25-$35 billion), special education ($30-$146 million), lead-linked ADHD cases ($267 million), and criminal activity ($1.7 billion), for a total of $192-$270 billion. The net benefit of lead paint hazard control ranges from $181 to $269 billion, resulting in a return of $17-$221 for each dollar invested in lead hazard control. LEAD COSTS In 2012, Omaha spent $126,477 to treat lead-poisoned children. If we focus on preventing lead poisoning rather than on treating poisoned kids, for every dollar spent on controlling lead hazards, $17-$221 would be returned in health benefits, increased IQ, higher lifetime earnings, tax revenue, reduced spending on special education, and reduced criminal activity. $1 in lead hazard control $17 to $221 in return Lead poisoned children No lead in blood Lead poisoned children No lead in blood 7x more likely to drop out of school 6x more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system 457 children had blood lead levels between 5-9.5 µg/dL 62 had blood lead levels between 9.5-14 µg/dL 50 between 15-25 µg/dL 7 between 25-45 µg/dL HOW MANY CHILDREN IN OMAHA? During 2012 in Omaha, 567 children had lead levels over 5 98
  7. 7. ASTHMA ASTHMA 1 in 7 children have life time asthma 1 in 3 children with asthma are poor 90% of children with asthma can attribute their asthma attacks to items found in the home 14 million absences from school are because of asthma ABSENT 11
  8. 8. OMAHA CAN’T BREATHE 8.7% of school-age children in Omaha currently have asthma Asthma prevalence in Omaha is particularly high in: • African American children (25.9%) • Northeast Omaha (19.4%) AMONG CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS WITH ASTHMA: 12.2% had 3 or more urgent/emergency care visits in the past year due to asthma 11.8% had 2 overnight hospitalizations due to asthma 16.7% do not have an asthma action plan in place In Omaha, a total of 20.9% of children with asthma missed 3 or more school days in the past year due to their asthma 34.6% of parents with asthmatic children missed at least 1 day of work in the past year because of the child’s asthma ASTHMA COSTS The annual cost of asthma is approximately 56 billion dollars Asthma has a direct health care cost of $3,259 per person per year. The overall expenditure in asthma related cases in Omaha was $14,284,197 during 2012 . $56,000,000,000 Without Asthma With Asthma Without Asthma Without Asthma With Asthma With Asthma Without Asthma With Asthma A child with asthma spends 50 cents more for every $1 that a child without asthma spends in health care A child with asthma spends 4 times more on medicine than a child without asthma An emergency visit costs 40% more when a child has asthma $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 12.2% 11.8% 16.7% 20.9% 34.6% 1312
  9. 9. INDOOR AIR QUALITY Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer 8 million homes have radon levels above the EPA’s recommended action level of 4.0pCi/L 21,000 cases of lung cancer annually are due to radon exposure in non-smokers with a cost of $1.1 million per person Installing a radon mitigation system ranges from $750 to $2,850 dollars per house Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the country Carbon monoxide deaths cost the U.S. $500 million a year Carbon monoxide kills nearly 500 people a year and sends 15,000 to the emergency room 3,400 people with lung cancer die annually due to exposure to secondhand smoke The average cost of secondhand smoke is $10 billion 46,000 people die annually from heart disease due to second- hand smoke exposure Secondhand smoke expo- sure costs $5 billion a year in direct medical costs and $5 billion a year in indirect costs IN THE HOME 15
  10. 10. RADON IN OMAHA Omaha is a red zone for radon. The natural composition of the soil in Nebraska makes our community more vulnerable to radon exposure. Radon can enter the home through cracks and exposed soil in basements. Douglas County is among the 8 counties in Nebraska where levels of radon between 86 to 204pCi/L were found. In Douglas County, between 6,561 to 10,332 houses were tested for radon prior to 2011. Testing is increasing, but still many more homes need to be tested. CARBON MONOXIDE IN NEBRASKA Nebraska is the state with the highest mortality rate from carbon monoxide In 2011, the Nebraska Poison Control Center received 268 calls related to carbon monoxide In 2012, Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance visited 350 homes; only around 25% of the houses had a carbon monoxide detector INJURY Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19 Every day, approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. This adds up to almost 2.8 million children each year In Omaha, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death of children and adolescents   In Omaha, a total of 15.1% of children were seriously injured enough to require treatment at some point in the past year. Among these children, 22.6% were seriously injured more than once Homes visited Other households’ energy cost Low income families’ energy cost Average of houses tested for radon Total housing units Homes with a carbon monoxide detector Unintentional injuries have a total societal cost of $217 billion $3.5% $14% = Unintentional injuries Societal cost ENERGY EFFICIENCY Low income families usually spend 14% of their total income on energy cost; other households only pay 3.5%. When energy efficiency upgrades are done correctly it can improve ventilation, reduce moisture and condensation, increase safety, improve comfort, and improve the general and respiratory health of occupants in homes. Correct energy retrofit upgrades result in fewer missed days from school and work and fewer visits to the doctor’s office. 1716
  11. 11. OVERALL COST If we take only the numbers we have so far, and make a rough estimation of how much unhealthy homes cost us: HOW AN UNHEALTHY HOUSE AFFECTS EDUCATION $30 million An unhealthy home means more lead poisoned children and more children with asthma. These two diseases are responsible for learning disabilities, special education placement, and missed school days. Lead causes learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, lowered IQ, behavioral problems, hyperactivity, ADHD, hearing loss and impulsivity. Blood lead concentrations of 1 to 10 µg per deciliter cause a 7.4 loss in IQ points. Lead levels below 10 µg/dL affect the reading readiness of children at kindergarten entry. Lower children’s IQ: • Increases the need for enrollment in special education services • Reduces the likelihood of high school and college graduation • Lowers lifetime earnings • Greatly increases their propensity to engage in violent criminal activity Children poisoned by lead are seven times more likelytodropoutof school and sixtimesmorelikelyto be involved in the criminal justice system The cost of special education related to lead poisoning ranges from $30 to $146 million dollars The cost of ADHD cases related to lead poisoning is around $267 million dollars Asthma causes 14 million absences from school every year A total of 8.7% of school-age children in Omaha currently have asthma A total of 20.9% of children with asthma missed three or more school days in the past year due to their asthma $146 million $38.5 billion (Lead Poisoning) $56 billion (Asthma) $23.1 billion (Radon) $217 billion (Unintentional Home Injuries) $10 billion (Secondhand Smoke) $0.5 billion (Carbon Monoxide Deaths) = $345.1 billion dollars a year 1918
  12. 12. Healthy Home Assessments Using our assessment tools, our trained Healthy Home Specialists are able to triage potential health hazards in the home Community-ide Education We provide education about lead poisoning and green and healthy home issues. Our program “The Lead Detectives” helps teach children how to look for lead hazards in their own home. We also conduct outreach in homes, clinics and schools for all communities in Omaha Training We are a certified training firm for the EPA RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting). Training is also provided on Healthy Homes to community groups and organizations OUR WORK Healthy Housing for Everyone We advocate for housing standards that protect children and families in Omaha. These standards ensure that homes are safe, affordable, healthy and energy efficient Keeping Kids Safe Our work ensures that children are kept safe from environmental hazards. We work to keep children safe from issues like mold, asthma triggers like dust, lead hazards and toxins that can significantly impact a child’s development, education and overall health Hazard Remediation For qualifying homes, we are often able to provide assistance to help fix issues in the home, or we can refer to one of our community partners for help 21
  13. 13. Deprived and highly medicated, Divad struggled daily at school. Although Maria took Divad to various therapists and physicians, it was Divad’s older sister that got the family referred to Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance. Divad’s older sister was seventeen years old and also suffered from asthma. Maria took her daughter to OneWorld Community Health Centers because she was constantly crying and wouldn’t tell Maria why. “I thought she was depressed, suicidal,” said Maria. When Maria’s daughter spoke to the staff at One World, she revealed that she didn’t want to move because she would miss her friends. Maria explained the situation to One World, who suggested that Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance conduct a healthy home assessment to be sure that it was the house that was making Divad sick. When Shannon and Ariana, both Healthy Home Specialists with Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance first entered Maria’s home, they were shocked by the state of decay. “There were holes in the floor, and some weak spots where I thought we would just fall straight through,” said Shannon. “The walls were buckling, there was a smell—it was overwhelming. The house was simply unlivable.” Ariana and Shannon knew immediately that the house had a bad water intrusion problem. The conditions of all the walls exposed high humidity in the house and most probably mold behind the walls. Ariana explained to Maria that mold is an asthma trigger and that she should move out of the house, because unless the entire house has mold remediation work done, Divad’s asthma would not disappear. Ariana explained to Maria her rights as a tenant, and gave her a landlord/tenant manual, created by Legal Aid of Nebraska, in Spanish, so she could know the steps to take in order to talk to her landlord. “When we first met her, we could tell that she was incredibly stressed. Now that they’re out of that house, she’s so much more relaxed and confident” Ariana said. Smiling, Maria said, “Now I know I am not powerless. Once they told me I could fight for my family, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.” Maria continues, “They showed me the way out and gave me the language to tell my landlord why I was leaving that terrible house.” Today, Divad rarely takes medication and only uses his inhaler when he needs it, which is also rare. He has stopped visiting the ER and missing school. In fact, all of Maria’s children are much healthier now. FROM THE FIELD... “They showed me the way out” Maria had rented the house for five years with her husband, Cesar, and their three children. The oldest child, a seventeen-year old girl, had suffered from asthma her entire life. The youngest, a four-year old boy, was just beginning to develop asthma when Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance representatives visited the home. But their middle child, a seven-year old named Divad, was struggling for his life. Maria knew that the house was making Divad sick. Divad’s persistent cough, trouble breathing, and asthma attacks were most noticeable when in their home. Whenever she took him to the doctor’s office, he did not cough. But inside the crumbling house, he coughed so hard that his face went red and the veins of his neck stood out. Eventually one of the doctors suggested taking Divad out of the house and seeing how his health fared. The family made a trip to Kansas to visit Maria’s sister, and, in spite of the cats in the house, Divad had no trouble breathing in his aunt’s home. It was then that Maria decided they must try to leave the house. The landlords did not provide a Spanish translation of the lease, and used the Spanish-English language barrier to trap Maria’s family into the home for five years. Over their five-year residency, Maria had appealed to the owners, asking them to make repairs. Problems like pieces of dry wall falling into the seventeen year old daughter’s room, an unstable foundation, and rotten floorboards were enough reason to vacate the deteriorating home. None of the windows opened; the whole home should have been condemned. Even though Maria cleaned the carpets and walls daily, the condition of the house was so poor that a leaky roof, buckling walls, and a moldy ceiling were only a small indicator of the massive water intrusion inside the home. And no matter how much she cleaned, the mold growing behind walls and on ceilings was killing Divad. One of the owners made repairs to the leaking roof, but did not provide new insulation and left Maria’s family with a growing mold problem. Other owners had a different way of dealing with Maria’s pleas. “We would ask them to replace the carpet, and they promised us new carpet in a month,” an OHKA staff member translates. Maria sits up straight in her new kitchen, and a gleam of anger enters her eyes. “Then a month later, there would be a note that we had a new owner.” In the mean time, Divad’s asthma was worsening. He was not only missing weeks at a time of school days, but Maria was starting to have problems with school personnel, doctors and therapists. They all started to suggest to her that Divad was not that sick but that he was pretending to be sick, and that she was allowing him to continue with the farce. Divad was taking approximately twelve pills a day, a nebulizer every night and allergy shots every week. He was rushed to the emergency room from 3 to 4 nights a week because he could not breathe. 22
  14. 14. THE COST It costs us 150 dollars to help one family 150 dollars that allows us to give education to the families, do environmental testing in the home, and help with paint stabilization 150 dollars that creates healthy families and healthier homes 150 dollars preventing the expenditure of thousands of dollars in asthma related emergency health care costs 150 dollars that keeps one more child out of special education because he or she is not lead poisoned 150 dollars that creates better, healthier and more equitable communities $25 Provides a carbon monoxide detector to a family $75 Provides a child with mattress covers, pillow protectors and furnace filters $150 Covers the cost for one Green and Healthy Home Assessment $250 Provides a lead risk assessment for one home $750 Paints the interior of one house $1500 What OHKA currently spends to make a house 30% healthier, safer and more energy efficient WAYS EVERYONE CAN GET INVOLVED Donate through our IndieGogo campaigns to help specific families Donate directly to us through our website (www.omahahealthykids.org) Volunteer with us and help us fix houses for families in Omaha Donate supplies and materials to make homes healthier Partner with us to help create a greener, safer, healthier Omaha 24 25