Roundup – NPR/Belonging/Leaking Toilets

Lots of updates on previous posts. Here are three:

One:  A marvellous National Public Radio (NPR) profile of the ongoing work at PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network) was aired Friday October 8th.  Journalist Wendy Kaufman has distilled the essence of our work – addressing social isolation and financial poverty.  She also managed to get me reflecting on our origins.  The story lives on, through NPR's impressive website.  Click here for the podcast.  This is part of NPR's occasional series on social entrepreneurs.

Two: John McKnight and Peter Block, authors of The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighbourhoods will be interviewed by Paul Born of Tamarack, Tuesday October 26th 11:55 EDT – 1:00 EDT.  This is Paul's first interview for his new website: Seeking Community – Finding Belonging in Chaotic Times. Always happy to plug a friend's website.  Even happier when it includes a focus on Belonging. Happier still when John and Peter are profiled.   You can register for the tele-learning event here.  Read my original review of  Abundant Community here.

Three: Paul Pholeros the talented architect cum community organizer I profiled in No Survey Without Service has sent along an independent assessment of their work to improve housing for indigenous people in New South Wales – Australia's most populous state.   Paul coined the phrase, no survey without service to ensure there are immediate and tangible improvements to housing before they assess or survey what else needs to be done. This is in contrast to what often happens in social services – a disproportionate focus on assessing needs, surveying and testing without allocating appropriate follow up resources.

When combined with hiring local unemployed young adults who have been trained in basic household repairs Paul and his HealthHabitat team build a 'bridge of goodwill' which allows for other health, safety, public health supports to be offered to the community.

The results from an independent detailed study reveals an impressive 40% reduction in hospital stays for infectious diseases compared to locations where HealthHabitat.  This in turn reduces the high rate of chronic diseases which children succumb to later in life.  Paul is zealous and practical about the link between functional, safe, clean housing and health. 

 Research has shown that improving essential health
hardware (fixing a leaking toilet, electrical repairs, ensuring
sufficient hot water for the number of tenants, having
somewhere to wash a baby or child, etc.) can lead to
improvements in health status and reduce the risk of
disease and injury. (Pholeros 1993)

This survey proves his point. There are other dramatic results which you can read about here: Download Housing_health_010210.

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