Indoor Air Pollution
The relationship between environmental exposures and asthma has been well characterized, especially in older housing stock (See the UCLA Policy Brief). Many parts of the City of Long Beach is burdened by old, poor quality housing stock with significant housing code violations and asthma triggers present in many residences. Nearly 79% of the multi-unit housing was build prior to 1950 and findings from a sample of participants in our home visiting program reveal that 55% have visible mold or mildew in their homes, 47% have cockroaches, and 26% have rodents. The affordable housing crisis contributes even further to these residents’ precarious housing situations. The Housing Long Beach Coalition estimates that at $6.75 per hour, two full-time minimum wage workers would have to each work nearly 73 hours per week to afford the average 2 bedroom/1 bath rental unit. With vacancy rates in Long Beach at approximately 3%, families have nowhere to go. They live in very poor and overcrowded conditions because they are afraid of being forced out. Furthermore, with the of high cost of housing and the fact that low income families carry the burden of the highest rates of asthma (See the UCLA Policy Brief) the need for improved housing conditions and more affordable units in Long Beach is essential. For more detailed information on wages and housing in Long Beach, see Out Of Reach.
LBACA’s work to improve the quality of housing for the families of children with Asthma began and continues with its in-home Community Health Worker program. LBACA’s five asthma CHW’s provide in-home visits (3-5 per family) to educate families about asthma and asthma medication; perform home assessments to identify what might trigger a child’s asthma attacks; plan with families to improve a child’s asthma; provide free supplies to minimize household triggers; provide advocacy with landlords and providers; and connect families with other agencies working on asthma.
LBACA is also a member of the Housing Long Beach Coalition, which is seeking to increase the supply of housing that is affordable to Long Beach’s neediest residents. To obtain more information about the Housing Long Beach Coalition or participate in its efforts, contact us.