Spire’s $100,000 gift helps expand Children’s Mercy 'Healthy Homes Program' in Kansas City area
As program’s first corporate donor, Spire helps expand home health assessments and repairs to improve region’s health
KANSAS CITY (May 3, 2022) — A new grant from Spire will allow Children’s Mercy Kansas City to expand their “Healthy Homes Program” to improve the health and safety of families through mitigation measures, while also improving home energy efficiency.
According to the American Housing Survey, tens of thousands of households in the Kansas City region live with moderate or severe physical housing problems. As part of the “Healthy Homes” program, Children’s Mercy environmental health specialists perform a home assessment to identify issues such as excess moisture, poor indoor air quality and high levels of contaminated dust, which can be root causes for chronic health issues such as asthma and allergies.
Spire’s $100,000 commitment to the program – the first by a corporate donor – will allow Children’s Mercy environmental health specialists to expand the program to impact even more families of children with chronic health problems.
“We already know that an energy-efficient home saves customers money, but a comprehensive approach to weatherization can also improve the health and economic burden of housing-related health hazards for families across our region,” says Steve Mills, Spire vice president and general manager for western Missouri. “Spire has funded almost $10 million since 2005 to weatherize more than 3,000 homes across Kansas City and this donation helps keep that momentum on making homes healthier moving forward.”
In addition to expanding the program’s reach, Spire’s donation served as an important funding match that helped Children’s Mercy’s application for an additional $1 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH). Children’s Mercy estimates that the combination of funding from Spire and HUD will provide home environmental assessments and interventions for approximately 90 homes, support 21 Healthy Homes consumer workshops and 21 Healthy Homes contractor training workshops across the KC Metro over the next three years.
Ryan Allenbrand, Healthy Home Program Manager for the environmental health program at Children’s Mercy, says adding home repairs will be a difference maker in benefiting families’ indoor environments.
“A drafty home with poorly operating heating and air conditioning systems, pipes that continually freeze and inadequate air sealing and insulation, not only increases a family’s electric and gas bills, but also increases environmental health hazards, especially for children,” Allenbrand said. “Thanks to Spire, which we think directly influenced our ability to obtain the grant from HUD, we can continue to address the root causes of chronic health issues we find every week in many Kansas City homes, ensuring as many children as possible are living in safe, healthy environments.”
To become eligible for the program, families must meet federal income level criteria and be referred by a physician due to a diagnosed health issue that is aggravated by poor indoor environmental quality. For more information, visit childrensmercy.org or call the Children’s Mercy Healthy Homes Program at 816-302-8565.