En EspaƱol Know Your Rights
Source: NY1
Subject: Health Justice & Access
Type: Media Coverage

Program Helps Brooklyn Residents Breathe A Little Easier

Bushwick has some of the highest
asthma rates in the city, but this time not due to industrial factors, but
what’s in the home. NY1 Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel filed the
following report more on a Brooklyn program that’s helping families route out
triggers and perhaps breathe a little easier.

When it
came to what was causing her families’ asthma to flare up, Urania Midal says
she just knew the triggers were coming from her Bushwick, Brooklyn
walk-up.

Now,
through a partnership with the New York State Health Foundation and Make the Road,
a community group based in her neighborhood, she’s getting some help.

"One
problem here, the floor was really bad," says Jesse Goldman, a housing organizer with Make the Road. "There were a lot of holes
and things like that, and then in the bathroom too, there was mold forming on
the ceiling."

Working
together as part of a four-pronged program, the two organizations have been
looking at asthma as a housing issue, as well as a serious health issue.

They make
door-to-door home visits to teach families about asthma prevention, identify
home triggers, and offer legal assistance for tenants if they encounter
problems with landlords in eliminating those triggers.

The
program also helps link community members with health insurance options and
works to improve access to care.

"The
needs in Bushwick are so high in terms of asthma. The asthma rates among four
and five year olds is 15 percent of the population, that’s stunning compared to
the nation, even compared to the rest of the city," says New York State
Health Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer James Knickman.
"The hospitalization rates for asthma are three times the national
average; so this is a community of need."

A year
into the program, nearly 70 percent of asthma sufferers involved say their
asthma symptoms have improved.

This is a
relief for Urania Midal and her two granddaughters.

"Now
I can breathe and I don’t cough anymore," said her granddaughter Gabriela
Midal.

The New
York State Health Foundation says it hopes to continue the program helping more
communities in need offering grants and working with more groups like Make the Road.