SAN FRANCISCO and COLUMBIA, Md. — National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), a national nonprofit dedicated to creating safe and healthy homes for children and their families, and Wells Fargo & Co. announced that the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation has committed up to $850,000 over three years to help launch the “Healthy Housing Challenge.” This new initiative seeks to bring home improvement help to seniors, veterans, and low-income families currently living in homes with potential safety and health threats. Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit dedicated to creating safe and healthy housing for America’s families, will lead the home improvement work on 1,500 homes.

The Healthy Housing Challenge takes its inspiration from a recent federal government report, Healthy Homes Strategy for Action, that estimated more than 30 million homes have potential health threats that contribute to asthma and other respiratory diseases, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other issues. The Healthy Housing Challenge seeks to alert homeowners, health care providers, and policymakers to the many low-cost ways to make homes healthier.

“This funding and volunteers from Wells Fargo will help us reach 1,500 families with life-saving upgrades to their homes,” said Rebecca Morley, National Center for Healthy Housing’s executive director. “Millions of families across the country have both obvious and hidden hazards in their homes and homeowners often are unaware these problems can be solved through relatively simple fixes. This initiative will help us make repairs and raise awareness about the important connection between our homes and our health.”

The $850,000 commitment includes a dollar for dollar match up to $250,000 for cash contributions made by other foundations, corporations, and individuals to NCHH for the Healthy Housing Challenge. The $250,000 match is effective immediately and extends through September 2013. Funds raised will provide tools, training, and technical assistance to launch the Challenge, which will enable 40 Rebuilding Together affiliates to enhance the health and safety of 1,500 low-income households over the next three years. The remaining $600,000 will support repairs on homes in Healthy Housing Challenge cities. Wells Fargo team members will also get involved by volunteering to help Rebuilding Together affiliates complete Healthy Housing Challenge home repairs such as improving ventilation, correcting moisture problems, and fixing fire and electrical hazards.

The Challenge has kicked off this spring with Rebuilding Together affiliates in nine communities: Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church, Va.; Baltimore; Denver; Peninsula and Sacramento, Calif.; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; Omaha, Neb.; and Triangle, N.C. The Challenge then plans to add additional affiliates across the country.

“The Healthy Housing Challenge will help transform our operations by increasing the level of service we can provide to homeowners across the country,” said John White, Rebuilding Together’s chief business officer. “We know the need is there. With the training and resources provided by the Healthy Housing Challenge, we can ensure that families are safe and healthy in their homes.”

Recent health and safety repairs to a home in Falls Church, Va., eliminated a homeowner’s multiple trips to the emergency room for her grandson’s asthma, according to the National Center for Healthy Housing. The repairs also helped the homeowner save $100 a month on utility bills.

Publication date: 4/15/2013