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Gimme Shelter: Yachad's Blog

Helping Families Breathe Easier

by Robin Renner, Yachad’s Director of Construction

[On May 1st World Asthma Day, Yachad highlights the importance of making homes healthier for families with asthma.]

Asthma is the leading chronic disease in children. It is also the top reason for missed school days.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Asthma in Schools.

When my children were in elementary school a friend of theirs died from an asthma attack. It was devastating to everyone and affected the whole community. The child had a history of asthma. His parents lacked health insurance and managed his symptoms with emergency room visits since they couldn’t afford regular care. They were good parents but lived in an apartment building with poor maintenance. Since then I’ve found out how much living conditions affect children with asthma. My work at Yachad helps me to address this serious health and housing issue.

A child’s home should be a safe place, a place of rest and comfort. If it’s hard to breath, or you always have a cold or cough, it’s hard to be comfortable. Children living in poorly maintained housing are more likely to have chronic health issues, particularly asthma. “Exposure to the things that stimulate asthma is probably greater in poor households. Cockroaches in inner city homes, air pollution in industrial neighborhoods, gas and other chemical fumes, lack of air conditioning, and inability to modify the home environment (for example, unable to take up a bedroom carpet or correct water leaks into a moldy basement) are some of the ways that poverty might predispose to worsen asthmatic inflammation of the bronchial tubes.” Partners Asthma Center

A few years ago, Yachad’s work focused on a family’s home where respiratory triggers were causing severe wheezing and coughing fits for the entire household. We pulled up all the carpeting, replaced moldy drywall, patched the roof and exterminated the house. The coughing and wheezing stopped, especially for the children. Everyone was better. This is just one example of Yachad’s work. Our homeowners almost always report less colds in the family, less problems with asthma and respiratory conditions, and general overall improvement in the health of the family. We make homes safe and healthy, so folks can live their best life.

Help us do more—be a Yachad healthy housing advocate and volunteer.

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