At CommunityHealth, we prioritize health care professionals that properly represent the communities we serve.
So as the Health Education team launches the second annual Healthy Homes initiative in partnership with Elevate, we are proud to onboard Daniel Espinoza as a Community Health Worker who has a special connection to the organization.
Originally from Mexico, Daniel lives with his wife and two children in Portage Park. As a patient of CommunityHealth, Daniel’s partner learned of the Healthy Homes initiative that would not only enhance the safety of his apartment, but also the health of his whole family. Daniel notes that they excitedly joined the program that “helps people realize what kinds of problems they have in their home and how they are affecting their health.”
The first tier of the program presents workshops on potential hazards in the home, such as mold in carpets or clogged vents.
The facilitators teach techniques to assess and prevent risks like to vacuum seal storage items, to let water run for 20 seconds before usage, and to cover power outlets where pests migrate. Attendees learn, for example, that homes developed before 1978 in Chicago have higher rates of lead and that you can check for indication through chipping of paint on the walls.
After the workshop at Onward Neighborhood House, gift bags valued at over $100 are awarded to participants offering items such as Brita filters, anti-allergen pillow covers, carbon monoxide filters, fire detectors, and more. Seventy-two community members attended workshops last year and the Healthy Homes team hopes for eighty people in 2023.
The second tier of the Healthy Homes project provides home visits for renters and homeowners alike.
Elevate works with landlords and property managers to evaluate areas of opportunity as well as install minor but mighty renovations. Participants in the second tier may also receive larger items like a vacuum or dehumidifier. The team assesses potential hazards such as clutter or leakage but, “more than anything, they provided knowledge on what to know and what to look for.”
Daniel explains that his heritage loves to cook and will have the stove running all night. Before Healthy Homes, he didn’t realize that people would be inhaling fumes while sleeping. Now his new range hood purifies the kitchen and his children even remember to check the air pressure tanks on the wall.
Twenty-five people received home visits in 2022 and the team plans to support thirty more house renovations this year.
Healthy Homes is free and available to all community members, even those living without rental or homeowner’s insurance.
From tier one of workshops through tier two of home visits, the program spans about two to three months. Healthy Homes works mostly with people living with heart disease or respiratory concerns, households with children under 6 years old, and small spaces housing many people.
Daniel elaborates that “as kids grow and have respiratory issues,” for example, “you have to ask why these things are happening.” Healthy Homes opens conversations and opportunities for people living with chronic disease, such as asthma or Diabetes, to build an environment that supports their well-being.
Working with a team of people he felt that he could relate to, Daniel explains that the program “will show you what potential issues you could have in your house, go through the process with you, and help you fix the issues from the beginning to end… at no cost to your family!”
“We want to make sure kids are safe, happy and healthy. Take care of your home now so you don’t deal with worse health later.”
CommunityHealth is the largest volunteer-based free clinic that provides life-changing services and life-saving medications at no cost to patients and their families. Access is guaranteed in our communities’ languages of English, Spanish, and Polish. Our clinic is able to offer Quality Health Care for All to the uninsured and underserved thanks to compassionate donors like you…