Why Your Community Should Take the Healthy Housing Action Challenge


  • Becky O’Meara, MSW
August 8, 2023 - (3 min read)

NLC launched the Healthy Housing Local Action Challenge (HHLAC) in 2022 to help cities reduce home-based health hazards such as lead and asthma triggers. Lead exposure in homes contributes to lifelong cognitive challenges, and asthma triggers disrupt learning and work for millions of vulnerable families nationwide. NLC’s HHLAC partners include the National Center for Healthy Housing, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, and ChangeLab Solutions.

As the one-year anniversary of the initial launch approaches, NLC is calling on municipal leaders to take the challenge and make their communities safer from the danger of lead.

Is the HHLAC Right for Your Community?

If you’re unsure if your community might benefit from joining the HHLAC, look at this interactive map from the CDC displaying the prevalence of homes built before 1980. Lead paint was banned for residential use in 1978, so homes built before that year have an increased risk of the presence of harmful levels of lead in the home.  

A CDC map of childhood lead poisonings by county.

Even if your community has low levels of housing built prior to 1980, there may be environmental conditions that increase the presence of asthma triggers in homes (click the link to see a map of asthma prevalence among adults).  

What Taking the Challenge Means

The Healthy Housing Local Action Challenge outlines a clear approach to improving health outcomes through housing, and communities that take the challenge have special access to leading organizations and subject matter experts in the field of healthy housing. The HHLAC identifies three Action Areas, each with their own accompanying actions that communities can take: 

  • Action Area 1: Identify and assess healthy housing needs 
  • Complete a City Assessment, analyze local data, engage community partners, and build your local coalition 
  • Action Area 2: Implement a policy, program, or practice that improves healthy housing 
  • Identify your local Champion for healthy housing, commit to a sustainable solution, consider potential roadblocks, conduct outreach to the community, and plan your timeline with well-defined local goals 
  • Action Area 3: Evaluate the impact of the implemented policy, program, or practice and share that information with other cities interested in doing the same. 
  • Assess local achievements and needs, determine what impact the action taken has had on improving health and equity, and become a peer leader to help other communities 

Communities can take the HHLAC at their current level or start with Action Area 1 and work their way through all three! The HHLAC offers quarterly learning labs, with opportunities for peer sharing and support; a City Assessment and other tools targeted at assisting communities to advance through the action areas; and local examples of successful programs and practices to achieve healthy housing goals. 

Take the Healthy Housing Local Action Challenge 

To take the Challenge, simply visit this site and complete and submit the form! We’ll be in touch to schedule an onboarding call. We’re looking forward to partnering with your municipality on your healthy housing journey.  

Please email healthyhousing@nlc.org if you have any questions or would like additional information. 

In Case You Missed It: NLC Healthy Housing Local Action Challenge and Community of Practice launch event 08.16.2022 

About the Author

Becky O’Meara, MSW

About the Author

Becky O’Meara, MSW is the Program Manager for Healthy Housing at the Institute for Youth, Education and Families at the National League of Cities.