Detroit youth participating in the AmeriCorps Urban Safety program overseen by Wayne State will give away more than 200 “Home Health Hazard Reduction” kits to residents in southwest Detroit in coming weeks, part of AmeriCorps’ ongoing effort to improve health, safety and environmental conditions in neighborhoods citywide.
Each of the kits, which will be distributed free of charge, will include a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner, an air filtration system, furnace filters and pillow and mattress encasements. The kits were paid for by a $150,000 grant that Marathon Oil provided to the university in February.
In addition, AmeriCorps will also provide in-home assessments to identify indoor environmental triggers, hand out educational material, and connect residents with public and private agencies that can provide additional resources.
In preparation for the giveaway, students have spent several days passing out leaflets in targeted southwest Detroit neighborhoods and urging residents to call to schedule appointments to receive the kits.
“Through the Center research, we have identified that the city of Detroit’s aging housing stock has been demonstrated to precipitate hazardous conditions within the home that have negative impacts on human health,” explained Ramona Rodriguez-Washington, program director for the AmeriCorps program and part of the WSU Center for Urban Studies. “The most prominent and dangerous hazards these homes present is poor indoor air quality. Not only are these hazards rampant in Detroit homes, but they also pose the greatest risk to developing children’s future outcomes. This project will further Wayne State University’s commitment to engage with its community and better the lives of Detroit residents.”