HUD Awards First-Ever Grant to Combat Childhood Asthma in El Barrio/East Harlem

Melissa joined Adolfo Carrión, Regional Administration of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Congressman Charles Rangel, NYCHA, New York Academy of Medicine and Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) Family Health Service to announce a three-year, $549,000 federal grant to combat asthma among children in El Barrio/East Harlem.  The grant will focus on efforts to improve indoor environmental conditions and promote education and medical services for asthmatic children and other local residents living in public and subsidized housing.  This is the first time ever that HUD has awarded a grant to combat indoor asthma triggers.

The New York Academy of Medicine was awarded funding under HUD’s Asthma Interventions in Public and Assisted Multifamily Program. The project aims to improve the health and quality of life of East Harlem children (age 17 and under) with severe and/or persistent asthma through innovative approaches to mitigating asthma triggers through home visits as well as workshops, comprehensive case management, education, training, and a remediation program focused on improving indoor air quality and eliminating household environmental conditions that exacerbate asthma symptoms.

Approximately 18.5% of East Harlem children ages 4-5 have asthma, double the New York City and national prevalence rate; 23% of children ages 5-12 in the area suffer from asthma; students of Puerto Rican descent approach 35%. Asthma is now recognized as a leading cause of school and work absences, emergency room visits and hospitalizations among low-income minority populations in communities like East Harlem.


Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services, Inc., a community-based, non-profit organization devoted to improving the lives of East Harlem residents, is partnering with NYAM on this project and has been tackling the problems and consequences of asthma for years. The HUD grant supports CAHR, which takes an innovative approach to targeting the causes and triggers of asthma in public housing through home visits by trained LSA community health workers. The program will help reduce or eliminate household environmental conditions that exacerbate asthma symptoms such as mold, poor ventilation, pest infestation (roaches, bedbugs, and rodents), house dust and second-hand smoke.

Families will be provided with information on household asthma triggers and trained how to safely remediate health hazards, if appropriate. Recognizing that low-income families may lack the resources to buy the supplies and equipment needed to sustain environmental improvements, CAHR will offer loans of equipment, such as HEPA-filtered vacuums and air cleaners.

Congratulations to NYAM and Little Sisters!

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