Nobles County Launches Healthy Homes Project
School Nurses Use Public Health Data to Build a Case
In 2014, Nobles County school nurses reported that students were being exposed to household pests. The lack of healthy and clean housing was affecting students' health, and poor student health was affecting educational outcomes.
To address this public health issue, Nobles County applied for and obtained a $25,000 grant to develop and implement interventions to improve local housing conditions. Using data developed by the Minnesota Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, local officials showed that rates of childhood poverty in Nobles County were nearly 1.5 times the statewide average, and seven in 100 children did not have health insurance.
Minnesota Tracking data made a strong case for the Healthy Nobles County Project to:
- improve access to health care, including education about health resources and preventive care; and
- address health equity, by focusing on vulnerable populations and eliminating health disparities.
Through this project, local partners distributed outreach materials to communities about actions they can take to promote healthy homes. For example, a local hardware store developed an educational display that identified common housing problems and solutions - focusing on mold, pests and vermin, smoke, and carbon monoxide.
Additional toolkits continue to be developed and vouchers provides to help address inequities related to health and housing.
Using Data to Strengthen a Grant Application
By offering easy, understandable, one-click access to data for counties and the state, the County Profiles feature empowered this local communities to implement a comprehensive Healthy Homes project. Data helped to illustrate the important connection between housing, health and educational outcomes.