Help For Health Issues Caused by Poor Housing ConditionsJuly 25, 2012
Residents of Holden, Old Town, Penobscot Indian Nation, and Veazie suffering ill health as a result of their housing conditions are invited to submit applications for housing improvements.
These 4 communities were awarded a Community Development Block Grant that will provide residents with deferred loans to finance the cost of improvements. Loans are payable only upon transfer or sale of the property. Interested residents can now contact Penquis to receive an application.
The program is designed specifically to help address housing issues that are causing or exacerbating health issues. In order to qualify, residents will need to demonstrate the connection between 1 or more existing house conditions and a health problem that is adversely affecting one or more occupants of the home. According to Michael Bush, project director at Penquis, "This program is partnering with home based social service agencies to help identify and assist residents that are suffering poor health as a result of their housing." Problems such as mold, lead, and poor ventilation of combustion appliances are all too common, according to Bush, and can result in major health problems for residents, as well as higher medical costs for treatment. In addition, other health problems such as radon, arsenic in wells, and poor access and egress, particularly for the elderly, are also endangering residents' health.
Interested residents worried about a condition in their home, or currently suffering the ill effects of an unhealthy home, are encouraged to apply. According to Patty Hamilton of Bangor Health and Wellness, one of the collaborators in the project seeking to address housing issues associated with asthma, "A healthy home is one that is dry, clean, pest-free, ventilated, safe, contaminant free, and maintained. An absence of any one or more of these conditions may contribute to an unhealthy situation that can threaten the health and safety of the resident."
In addition to the 4 communities and their health and code offices, several home based care agencies have committed to help refer their clients to the program. According to Michael Bush, the involvement of these agencies helps ensure that residents can get the help they need and that housing funds can be directed to those with health problems caused by poor housing. Agencies participating include: Bangor Health and Community Services, Community Health and Counseling, Eastern Area Agency on Aging, Penquis (Head Start and Weatherization programs), UCP of Maine, and Wings for Children and Families, Inc.
Priority will be given to residents with very low incomes, the old and young, and those residents where a strong relationship exists between a specific health problem and a condition in the home. Only residents with household incomes below $35,200 for a household of 1, $40,200 for 2, $45,250 for 3, and $50,250 for 4 are eligible. Residents of the 4 communities (renter or home owner) may contact Brandy at Penquis at 973-3612 to request an application, or visit their local town office or Tribal Housing Authority. It is anticipated that a first round of improvements will begin in early September. To participate in this first round, residents should return their applications by August 15, 2012. A second round is anticipated later in 2012.
If you would like more information about this topic; or to schedule an interview, please call Michael Bush at 973-3545 or email@example.com.
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