Katrina Housing and Urban Development Healthy Homes

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University (DSCEJ at DU) in collaboration with Howard University received a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called the HUD Healthy Homes Initiative.

The purpose of the project is two-fold. The first goal is to subsidize environmentally safe renovations and remodeling in 25 houses in areas of New Orleans affected by Hurricane Katrina. The second goal is to conduct Environmentally Safe Renovation and Remodeling Work Practices (ESRRWP) Training. The target audiences for training are community residents with low to moderate incomes and elderly residents, Dillard University faculty, staff and or students in the School of Nursing, and contractors whose clients are low to moderate-income families and elderly residents. The DU School of Nursing participants will be trained and mentored in ESRRWP so that they will have the capacity to provide training to students and community residents in the future.

The DSCEJ will oversee the renovation and remodeling of the 25 units. Approximately $4,000 per household will be provided to assist in environmentally safe repair and renovation work. Residents are able to select one of four services: mold remediation, soil remediation, installation of hurricane resistant windows, or installation of moisture resistant sheetrock.

In preparing for the ESRRWP training, a demonstration house was prepared to provide hands-on training for contractors as well as a visual tour for the community training. Participants learned that the number one concern in rebuilding their homes should be to build a home that is environmentally safe, and flood and moisture resistant. Workshop participants were provided with information on ways to preserve double hung wood windows and repair plaster, and how to create a clean room while rebuilding. The clean room is created to allow residents to live in a clean and safe isolated room within the house while renovation is in progress.

The next steps for program implementation include obtaining a cost analysis for repairs on each of the 25 houses from the assigned contractors, conducting an environmental review of the houses with before and after pictures, and setting the time line for the completion of the work.

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