The Genesee County Health Department received $477,000 in funding from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to implement the Healthy Neighborhoods Program (HNP) for the years 2022 to 2027. Residents in the Town and City of Batavia are eligible to participate in the program and the goal is to visit 1,000 households over five years.
The program offers home evaluations for asthma triggers, indoor air quality, lead-based paint hazards, fire risks, and other health hazards. At the evaluations, residents are educated on asthma management, childhood lead poisoning prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning, radon gas, fire safety and prevention, and other home safety issues. Free safety and cleaning supplies are also available to eligible participants.
There are four main goals of Healthy Neighborhoods Program:
- 1) Reduce hospital visits due to asthma: According to the NYSDOH Asthma Dashboard from 2017 to 2019, residents of the zip code 14020 (which includes the City and Town of Batavia) visited an emergency department for an asthma attack at a 28% higher rate than the average for Genesee County. The Healthy Neighborhoods Program aims to provide participants with tools to better manage their asthma and avoid emergency room visits by evaluating their symptoms, triggers, and medication usage. Participants are encouraged to ask their primary care doctor to create a written plan to follow during an asthma attack.
- 2) Prevent childhood lead poisoning: The majority of housing in Batavia was built before 1978, which is when the federal government banned consumer use of lead-based paint. In partnership with the Genesee County Health Department’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, homes will be assessed for lead-based paint hazards and lead poisoning prevention education will be provided.
- 3) Improve indoor air quality: According to the NYSDOH, about 1800 people in New York visit an emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Carbon monoxide poisoning is more common during the winter months due to use of heating sources. The Healthy Neighborhoods Program provides education on carbon monoxide poisoning, radon gas, smoking cessation, and
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- pest management. In addition, eligible participants may receive carbon monoxide detectors, radon test kits, and cleaning supplies.
- 4) Reduce household injuries from fires and accidents: Residential fires are more common in the winter months, according to research by the National Fire Protection Association. A small fire can become a major fire in less than a minute, so working smoke detectors are crucial to alert residents so they can escape in time. The Healthy Neighborhoods Program encourages participants to practice fire escape routes. Participants may even receive free smoke detectors and small fire extinguishers.
For more information or to make a referral to the program, call Genesee County HNP staff at 585-344-2580 ext. 5519 or visit www.GOHealthNY.org.