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FR project brings healthy homes info to Latino communities, wins good reviews from participants


By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency, and Antonio Alba Meraz, educator in family resiliency

Home is where the heart is, the old saying goes. But home is also where physical, chemical, and biological health risks lurk. We all need to know how to keep our homes healthy places for our families to live.

Wood letters that read HOME. The O is represented with a heart.

With that in mind, the Latino Financial Literacy Team led by Antonio Alba Meraz, presented 17 two-hour workshops titled "Healthy People in Healthy Homes" to Latino residents in late summer 2017. A total of 172 people attended the Healthy Homes workshops, conducted in Spanish in 12 counties of southern Minnesota. This work was supported through a CLEAR Corps grant of $3,333 that Antonio received last summer.

Evaluation results showed that participants increased their knowledge about home health risks across a number of categories after participating the workshop. Nearly 97 percent of respondents said they were “very satisfied” with the workshop.

Many participants intended to apply what they learned at home. They also said they would be checking their homes for health hazards “like detectives.” Others said they would share the information they learned with others. Still others immediately inquired about obtaining tools to help keep their homes safe—such as radon testing kits.

To build capacity of the Latino Financial Literacy Team, Antonio presented a four-hour train-the-trainer session for three other members of the team who joined him in conducting the community workshops: Gabriela Burk, Jose Lamas, and Francisca Mendoza.

Partnering with others

This team drew on existing partnerships and engaged new partners in their communities to deliver the Healthy Homes workshops to Latino families in southern Minnesota. These partners included community-based agencies, schools, and county offices.

Besides information about health risks in the home, the Healthy Homes workshops incorporated elements of FD’s RentWise tenant education program. The workshops also included information from Spanish-language curricula and resources on keeping your home safe and healthy. In addition, workshop facilitators provided participants with an extensive list of resources (in English and Spanish) on housing in southern Minnesota.

For more details on project results, please see the report on the Healthy People in Healthy Homes project that was developed in partnership with FD’s Applied Research Team. FD staff also can download the report from the center’s intranet site.
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