October 19, 2021
The state’s largest weatherization provider and a leading Northern Virginia healthcare organization are teaming up to ensure that patients have a healthy and energy efficient place to live. The pilot program, which launched this month, builds on long-established connections between health and housing.
Community Housing Partners (CHP), which creates affordable and sustainable communities and provided energy efficiency upgrades for more than 1,600 Virginia households last year, is working with Inova Health System and Health Care Without Harm to bring home improvements and upgrades to residents who need them the most.
“We’ve enjoyed working with Inova to design and implement this initiative that will improve the energy efficiency of patients’ homes while also reducing health and safety risks,” said Lesley Fore, Senior Manager of Operations for CHP Energy Solutions. “The buildings we live in can have a direct impact on our health, but the weatherization services CHP provides—improving venting, fixing faulty appliances, and sealing the building’s envelope against pests and moisture—can successfully mitigate harmful impact, making homes safer and healthier to live in.”
Through the pilot program, Inova clinic team members identify eligible patients whose underlying health issues might be caused or worsened by their living situation. They then refer these patients to a social worker who determines whether they are eligible for services from CHP Energy Solutions. “The partnership between CHP and Inova is exciting!” said Gerald Joseph, Social Worker Case Manager for Inova Health System. “This will benefit my work since I approach patients from a whole person health perspective. Addressing the home environment is imperative for optimal medical and behavioral health.”
CHP Energy Solutions will install energy efficiency measures and other home upgrades for eligible residents referred through the program. These improvements reduce electric, gas, and water bills and come at no cost to income-qualifying individuals and families. They also support good physical and mental health by creating indoor living environments with healthy air temperatures, humidity levels, noise levels, and improved air quality, not to mention reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability. (Learn more about health and housing at CHP.)
Antonia Herzog, Associate Director Climate and Health for Health Care Without Harm U.S., agrees. “These efforts address the environment as a key determinant of health and result in healthier homes, reduced carbon emissions, and increased resilience for communities disproportionately impacted by climate change,” Herzog said. (Learn more about the connections between climate and health.)
Program services are available to both homeowners and renters based on household income and/or age. If a household contains a member who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Public Assistance, Food Stamps, or fuel assistance, the household is automatically eligible. To learn more about the pilot program and determine eligibility, visit the Healthy Homes with Inova webpage or call CHP Energy Solutions at 888-229-3714.