HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 13-14
Adam Glantz (212) 264-1100
Olga Alvarez (212) 542-7142
For Release
August 20, 2013

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

NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded Columbia University $722,378 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 Columbia is part of $10.5 million awarded to nonprofits 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."

The funding to Columbia will go toward identifying the major fungal taxa across selected homes in New York City and to develop a unique panel to quantify New York City-specific fungal burden and test for associations with allergic-sensitization and asthma. The researchers will determine whether or not the individual species and concentrations of domestic dust borne fungi vary across the City's middle-income housing by neighborhood and housing type. They will also determine whether, among 7-8 year-olds, higher levels of domestic fungi are associated with allergic sensitization at ages seven to eight with asthma persistence at ages 10 to 11.

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.

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.

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: August 18, 2014