Why Does It Matter?
Substandard housing can affect a household’s health, stability, education, and general well-being.
Without a safe home, people can become sick or may be forced to move from place to place. This may mean children also have to move from school to school. Numerous moves may cause a sense of instability or uncertainty for the family, and can also be costly and disruptive as the family readjusts to the new living quarters.
Housing challenges can include dealing with lead, mold, and/or pests, which can then result in health complications like asthma, allergic reactions, or illness. Exposure to lead paint or other lead-based items in a home can also cause serious health issues like muscle pain, lower IQ, nausea, kidney problems, dizziness, and hearing loss.
In 2004, Omaha was designated as the largest residential land-area contaminated by hazardous waste (a Superfund site) because children living east of 45th Street had a consistently higher level of lead in their blood than children anywhere else in the U.S. In 2012, 567 children in Omaha lived in homes with high lead levels.