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Do You Know if Your Home is Healthy? United Way of Long Island Empowers Residents to Recognize the Connection between Health and Homes

June is National Healthy Homes Month

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, almost 6 million U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical infrastructure problems, and an estimated 30 million homes have indoor environmental hazards. United Way of Long Island is encouraging everyone to observe National Healthy Homes Month this June and recognize how the conditions of one’s home can affect their health, and the health of their family.

“Everyone deserves to live in a healthy home, and it doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive to do so,” said Rick Wertheim, senior vice president of housing initiatives at United Way of Long Island. “There are simple and affordable changes that everyone can make so that their home promotes the well-being of the families living inside of them. Just a few minutes and a few dollars can make a tremendous difference in the health of a home, helping it ‘live better’ and improve comfort.”

“It’s estimated that 90% of people’s time is spent indoors, and our indoor environments are 3-5 times more polluted than outside,” Wertheim added. “By incorporating simple habits into our daily lifestyle to improve the conditions in our homes, we can reduce health issues like asthma and allergies and develop a better quality of life.”

United Way’s ‘Healthy Homes Long Island’ provides resources, services and programs that help Long Islanders live in sustainable homes that reduce potential hazards, as well as build and retrofit homes that are sustainable and reduce potential toxins and risks that could cause chronic health conditions. As a National Grand Winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Awards for three years in a row, United Way is a nationally-recognized builder that is leading the way in developing healthy and sustainable homes. One of these award-winning homes in Huntington Station serves as a residence to veterans, some of whom have special health needs.

“I feel at home here,” said Jeffrey, a U.S. Army veteran who lives in the home with his service dog Romeo. “When I walk through the front door, it’s like my allergies disappear and I can feel comfortable. It’s quiet, the air is clean – it’s truly a godsend.”

Simple ways to improve the health of your home include:

  • Keep Your Home Dry: Manage the moisture in your home, as mold and moisture can increase allergens and asthma triggers
  • Make Your Home Smoke Free: Never let anyone smoke in or near your home
  • Ventilate When Cooking: Always use a range hood exhausted to the outside to keep the air clear while using your cooktop
  • Reduce Fall Hazards: Secure all railings and loose rugs, remove clutter on the floors and stairs, and use slip-resistant mats in showers and tubs
  • Check Your Detectors: Ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working, the batteries are replaced yearly, and not out of date
  • Stay Toxin Free: Use natural cleaning supplies, and utilize pest management recommendations before applying pesticides

United Way of Long Island’s Housing and Green Building Department is at the forefront of energy-efficient, healthy and sustainable development in the region, building more than 90 homes in nearly 20 years. Working closely with community organizations and government agencies, United Way of Long Island manages housing projects from blueprints to groundbreaking, as well as detailed finishes and utilities – ensuring that every home is built to be healthy, easily maintained, and energy efficient.

United Way of Long Island's Healthy Homes Initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To learn more about Healthy Homes, and what homeowners can do to create a healthy home, visit