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Do Cities Have Enough Housing Inspectors?

Through our BUILD Health Partnership, Children’s Law Center, DC Department of Health and IMPACT DC are focusing on the intersection of pediatric health and housing conditions law. Our project to reduce childhood asthma is a nationally replicable model that leverages medical expertise, legal support, and funding from Managed Care Organizations to find real solutions to asthma in low-income neighborhoods in Southeast DC. Read more about the program here!As part of our collaboration, we worked with the BUILD team to gather data about housing inspections. Emily Yu, executive director of the BUILD Health Challenge, wrote about the project, saying:Recently, several of the BUILD communities approached us with a seemingly straightforward question about how many housing inspectors other cities have to enforce their rental codes and protect residents from unsafe housing. They intended to use this information to better understand the role housing inspectors play within different communities, since they are often a major stakeholder in identifying and addressing building related issues that directly impact the health of residents (e.g., chronic asthma). With several BUILD communities working on the issue of housing across the country, we were able to gather this information and discuss the results—which ended up revealing more than we had anticipated. We realized the right question to ask was not, “how many do they have?” but rather, “how many inspectors do they need to make sure housing actually contributes to health instead of fueling health crises?”Housing is just one focus area for BUILD and this statistic is just one metric among hundreds that play out in an incredibly complicated environment. But it’s definitely one worth considering. You can read Emily’s full blog here.The data has been translated into a powerful infographic: