The American Lung Association Health House program is training Native American housing directors, environmental professionals and public health professionals how to build new homes and remediate existing homes on tribal lands according to the stringent Health House builder guidelines, recognized as some of the industry’s toughest and best for health indoor air quality, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Why? In part because the Indian Nations are located in some of the most unforgiving terrains in the United States, hot and dry, cold and wet, remote and isolated, the housing there has often proved to be sub-standard. After only a few years, whole housing projects are demolished and rebuilt, only to be demolished again, at owners, tribe and taxpayers expense.
The initiative, made possible by a grant from the National Environmental Protection Agency, aims to break this wasteful and unhealthy cycle by passing on the considerable knowledge we have acquired on building healthier homes at the lowest possible cost. This is the same knowledge and technology used to build Jackson Street Village in the North End neighborhood of Saint Paul, a low-income family community that has been cited as a model by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other legislative leaders as a model of how Minnesota can solve its own problems with low income-housing.