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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Home is Where Your Health Is

Readers of our “Better by Design” series might notice a trend: Our reports are getting longer.

We swore at the beginning of the series that we would stick to two pages for each publication. And we demonstrated impressive willpower for a while. But we kept finding so much good information to share and so many great projects to spotlight that we cheated a little for our paper on food deserts, and now we’ve done it again in our latest installment, “Home Is Where Your Health Is.”

It’s like when you have one extra cookie, and it tastes so good that you go back for a few more. And darn it, those calories are worth it.

Our newest brief, on the connection between housing and health, is chock full of examples of how the places we live affect how well we feel. Did you know that Colorado is in the most severe state category for indoor radon levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency? Or that an estimated 10,000 people in Colorado have no home at all? How about the concern that Denver will become a “San Francisco of the Plains”? (San Fran has a lot of things going for it, but affordable housing isn’t one of them.)

The report highlights organizations working to address housing issues around the state, such as Homeward 2020, Habitat for Humanity and the Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation. And we profile a community in Durango owned and managed by Mercy Housing that provides a solid foundation for 140 vulnerable residents in the southwest part of the state.

It’s clear that there is almost always room for improvement in our homes, from treating environmental hazards to installing grab bars to reduce the chance of falling in the shower or bathtub. A seemingly endless list of home improvement ideas — some more critical than others — presents both a challenge and an opportunity.

As we’ve researched and written this series, we’ve been continuously inspired by the people and organizations across Colorado working to make a difference. Whether it’s a group campaigning to make a city more walkable, a nonprofit and neighborhood partnering to provide fresh food, or a community working through a 10-year plan to end homelessness, dedicated Coloradans are improving various aspects of our life that are intricately tied to our health.

We’re excited to share our fifth and final installment, on transportation and health, in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.