HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 13-15
Adam Glantz (212) 264-1100
Olga Alvarez (212) 542-7142
For Release
August 26, 2013

Research grants to help control asthma, bed bugs and reduce radon exposure

NEWARK - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded over $1 million to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to protect children and other vulnerable groups from health hazards in their homes. This funding highlights the link between housing and health and develops cost effective methods for mitigating residential hazards. HUD's grants are being awarded to academic and non-profit research institutions studying new methods to recognize and control residential health and safety hazards such as asthma triggers, bed bugs, mold and radon. The funding to Rutgers is part of $10.5 million awarded to organizations and universities nationwide.

"Our homes should be restful and safe environments for all, but too many of us suffer from preventable injury and illness due to unsafe conditions in our homes. Some of us, such as children and seniors, are more easily harmed by residential hazards, which is why it's critical that we develop cost effective methods of protecting them from hazards in the home," said Jon L. Gant, Director of HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. "These grants will support important research that can help all of us identify and control those things in our homes that can cause or contribute to injury or illness."

Rutgers was awarded two separate grants. It was awarded $342,905 to design and implement a model bed bug integrated pest management (IPM) program for low-income communities that will compare this IPM program with those of existing IPM strategies to create practical, widely applicable and accepted protocols that will reduce bed bug management costs and improve the health and well-being of residents through effective eradication of bed bugs. Rutgers was also awarded $687,000 to test and refine cost-effective methods for detecting health and safety hazards in affordable housing by using laser and infrared imaging equipment capable of detecting structural deficiencies, moisture, mold, breaches in insulation, insect harborages and vermin tracks at very detailed levels and, by leveraging building information models created from laser scan data, to gain systems level understanding of patterns of health and safety hazards.

"Low-income communities suffer the most from bed bug infestations. This bed bug grant will provide much needed help to these communities," said Changlu Wang, Assistant Extension Specialist at Rutgers. "We are excited to see that HUD Healthy Homes Initiative Program takes a very proactive role in reducing the increasing bed bug problems. It will benefit the whole society as bed bugs can spread easily among communities."

"Keeping multi-family housing in a safe and healthy condition is a major challenge for building owners and a central concern of residents," said Clinton Andrews, Professor and Director of the Center for Green Building at Rutgers. "HUD's visionary support will allow us to test an exciting set of technological innovations to spot emerging problems in buildings. These new solutions may work in a less intrusive and more cost-effective manner than labor-intensive, apartment-by-apartment inspections."

HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative promotes safe, decent, and sanitary housing as a means for preventing disease and injury. There is an emerging body of scientific evidence - to which these new grants will contribute - linking health outcomes such as asthma, lead poisoning, and unintentional injuries to substandard housing. Housing of all types and ages may contain hazards. Creating healthier housing promotes the health of people of all ages, but especially our most vulnerable, and thus has the potential to save billions annually in health care costs. Everyone needs a healthy home and some of the most serious health problems start in their home. There are special reasons to focus on the home environment:

  • On average we spend about 70% of our time in our homes.
  • Children's play and interactions potentially expose them to toxins such as lead.
  • Millions of U.S. homes have existing hazards such as deteriorated lead-based paint, elevated radon levels, or pest infestation.

HUD's Healthy Homes Technical Studies (HHTS) Program supports new approaches to improve the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of methods to evaluate and control housing-related health and safety hazards. The program, part of HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative, is particularly focused on the health of children and other vulnerable groups. The grants announced today supplement the $98 million in grants HUD awarded in May to protect thousands of children from lead and other home hazards.

Read more about how to protect your family from a variety of home-based health and safety hazards in Help Yourself to a Healthy Home.


HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.


Content Archived: September 25, 2014