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Rebuilding Tampa Bay Repairs Home Of Children With Asthma

Patch logo Patch 3/15/2019 News Desk
a person standing in front of a brick building © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

From Tampa Bay Asthma Coalition: Single mother Anastasia Saunders is a licensed practical nurse who works full-time while caring for her young sons Trevon, age 8, and Bryant, age 11, both diagnosed with asthma. Through Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay’s (RTTB) new Healthier Homes for Children initiative, the family is receiving home repairs and improvements to minimize potential asthma triggers throughout their home on Clifton Street, making it healthier for the boys. With the help of volunteers from Booz Allen Hamilton, RTTB is completing the repair work on Saturday, March 30, during a day-long building project – the first for the Healthier Homes for Children initiative.

RTTB is partnering with the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and the Tampa Bay Asthma Coalition to bring this initiative to Hillsborough County. The initiative’s goals are to mitigate household asthma triggers, reduce the number of asthma-related doctor/ER visits, minimize the number of missed school days/work due to asthma, and decrease overall stress for the family.

Saunders commented, “Bryant went four times to the ER last year. Both [children] go to the doctor once a month. Neither of my kids want to go to school after asthma/allergy episodes. Every morning I have to manage their symptoms, and I feel overwhelmed. I often have to ask my family to help, since I’m a single mom. These repairs will mean healthier living conditions for us. We won’t have to go to the hospital as much or miss school so often from asthma episodes.”

That is exactly the outcome that RTTB intends with this initiative, which offers home repairs to income-eligible homeowners with children who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions, living in Hillsborough County. For the Saunders’ family, RTTB is replacing a leaky roof, replacing the AC unit and repairing ductwork, addressing bathroom leaks, replacing carpeting with hard-surface flooring, repairing leaky and broken windows and doors, and weatherizing the house. On March 30th, volunteers from Booz Allen Hamilton will put the final touches on the home by completing improvements to the exterior of the home.

RTTB Executive Director Jose Garcia said, “Medicine alone is not sufficient to control asthma episodes in the home. We need to improve air quality in the house by addressing, as much as possible, potential areas that can trigger an asthma attack.”

Greg Rivera, Community Partnership Lead from Booz Allen Hamilton said, “We’re excited to be part of this project. Helping a young family with medical issues brings our community volunteer work to a whole new level. It touches our hearts because many of us have kids.”

This initiative is primarily funded through a grant from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. While RTTB addresses the asthma triggers in the house, the Tampa Bay Asthma Coalition works with the families to provide home health education. The goal is that the combination of these services will result in long-term childhood asthma control and improved quality of life for the entire household.

Maria Negron, Program Director at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, said, “One of the Children’s Board focus areas is for families to be healthy and safe, our investment will prevent and alleviate adverse health conditions in an innovative way.”

Beth Ash of the Tampa Bay Asthma Coalition said, “The work RTTB is doing for the Saunders family will allow the boys to enjoy more symptom free days, which means fewer missed school days, better sleep, and will improve their overall quality of life. Tampa Bay Asthma Coalition is excited to support these efforts with education for families to manage their asthma in simple and realistic terms.”

Tampa is listed as the third most challenging place to live with asthma in Florida, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s (AAFA) 2018 Asthma Capitals report. The AAFA report measures the most critical asthma-related health outcomes, including asthma prevalence, emergency room visits due to asthma attacks, and asthma mortality, in the 100 largest cities in the continental United States.

“God bless you and thank you, this will impact my kids present and future. I’m looking forward to having a normal routine in the mornings without constant sneezes and have my children happy and able to go to school. This program will benefit many others as well,” Saunders said.

To qualify for the Healthier Homes for Children initiative, applicants must own and occupy their home; live in Hillsborough County (including the City of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace); be current on mortgage payments, property taxes, HOA fees, and assessments; have no personal or property judgments; and live in a single family dwelling, condo, townhome, mobile home (must own lot), or manufactured home. Applications are available online at www.rttb.org.

ABOUT REBUILDING TOGETHER TAMPA BAY:

Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay (RTTB) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides critical home repairs, accessibility modifications, and energy-efficient upgrades for homeowners in need. RTTB primarily works with low-income families, children with asthma and other respiratory conditions, veterans, the elderly, victims of disasters, and persons with disabilities. The organization also constructs new affordable housing, known for homes that not only reflect the character of the community but also have the same quality of design and features as market-rate housing. RTTB relies on the support of corporate sponsors, public grants, individual donors, and the hands-on work of hundreds of volunteers and skilled laborers each year. Founded in 2000, RTTB has rehabilitated more than 500 homes in the Tampa Bay area, providing a total value of more than $4 million in improvements. For more information, visit www.rttb.org.

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