Connecting Housing and Health

The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development (the Poverty Center) is one of a collaboration of partners working towards improving community health in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. The Cleveland Healthy Homes Data Collaborative (the collaborative) is a response to the national  BUILD Health Challenge second round of grant making. Led by Environmental Health Watch, the collaborative will improve the accessibility of information about important healthy home factors that families need to make healthy housing decisions. Other partners in the collaborative include the MetroHealth Hospital System, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, the City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing, DigitalC, and Global Health Metrics. The Poverty Center adds a powerful integrated housing data system to the collaborative initiative.

Since it’s founding in 1988, the Poverty Center has conducted rigorous research and developed data-driven tools to aid Northeastern Ohio communities in addressing urban poverty, its causes, and its impact on communities and their residents. The Poverty Center’s involvement in the BUILD initiative stems partly around the Neighborhood Stabilization Team Web App, or NST, a property data tool providing housing and property information at the parcel level to community development agencies and government entities in Cuyahoga County. Initially built and launched in 2010 to help target foreclosure prevention in Cleveland neighborhoods, the involvement in BUILD represents a unique shift for the NST data tool into the home-health space.

“The value of NST lies not exclusively within the tool itself, but within the power of regularly accessing and linking data, and making it available to decision-makers,” stated Poverty Center founder and co-director, Claudia J. Coulton, PhD. “Because this work is at the backbone of NST, we’re able to flexibly respond to other community data needs, like the BUILD initiative.”

Locally, the work of the collaborative is also in response to problems in the City of Cleveland addressing the lead crisis with existing public and private resources, as documented by local media.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, the BUILD Health Challenge seeks to improve communities that are impacted by the social determinants of health. The initiative brings a philosophy that solutions to community problems must be bold, deal with problems upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD). The BUILD Health Challenge has a strong focus on partnerships, striving to make improvements within community health.