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New Rebuild Healthy Homes Guide and Resources from HUD

April 11, 2016
May/June 2016
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2016 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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When a disaster strikes, survivors face the daunting and dangerous task of cleanup and repair. They are understandably eager to restore their homes and lives quickly, yet are typically unaware of all the potential hazards that restoration may entail.

To address this need, HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has created a collection of new, free educational resources in varied forms for consumers, workers, and stakeholders. They are available from www.hud.gov/healthyhomes. Click the OLHCHH Post Disaster Recovery and Resources link under Popular Topics.

The flagship publication is Rebuild Healthy Homes: Guide to Post-disaster Restoration for a Safe and Healthy Home. It’s a detailed, heavily illustrated, and comprehensive how-to guide to help homeowners, volunteers, and other workers safely restore homes damaged by each type of natural disaster—from floods and hurricanes to wildfires and earthquakes. The goal of Rebuild Healthy Homes is to help disaster survivors end up with more than just a livable home; to create a silver lining; to reward their recovery efforts with a safer, more-resilient, durable, comfortable, and healthy home.

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Full Professional Level PPE (Credit: HUD)

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Minimal Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Credit: HUD)

Content includes sections on personal protection; hazard assessment; preparation; best practices for clean-out, tear-out, gutting, decontamination, and repair; ways to “restore for more than before” with hazard-resistant, energy-saving, and healthy home improvements; and links to additional resources. The 72-page guide was extensively reviewed and vetted by disaster survivors and stakeholders across the nation, and it conforms to the new federal interagency common recommendations for dealing with mold, lead, asbestos, and radon after disasters. It is available as a free online pdf file that can be printed in whole or part, as well as a free mobile app for both iPhone and Android devices (search Rebuild Healthy Homes in the app stores).

Here are some other new HUD disaster resources:

Claudette Hanks Reichel is a professor and an extension housing specialist with Louisiana State University AgCenter in Baton Rouge, and served as the primary author of the Rebuild Healthy Homes Guide. She is also director of LaHouse Resource Center, a sustainable-housing demonstration home and educational outreach program.

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