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Healthy Homes: Maintenance

“What makes a healthy home?” What comes to mind when you hear that question? Do you think about the structure of the building, the people living in it, the items and personal belongings inside, where it is located?

That’s the question we’ll be exploring over the next several blog posts in our Healthy Homes series. In this series we’ll take a closer look at some common unhealthy components of housing and interview Willis Dady staff members to learn how you can make your home and community healthier.

But before we begin, it is important to get a baseline understanding of the topic. The definition of what Healthy Home looks like may be different for everyone, but Willis Dady believes that a healthy home is a safe affordable home that supports the health of its residents. One of the easiest ways to make your home a healthy one is to do regular maintenance checks.

According to The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s consumer action guide (linked at the end of the blog), “Poorly maintained homes are at risk for moisture, pest problems, and injury hazards.” That’s why I sat down with Willis Dady’s Maintenance Specialist, Steven Lovejoy, to learn more. Check out our interview and Steven’s tips below:

Q: What is Willis Dady’s maintenance process?

I have a maintenance check list that I use each month during my walkthroughs of the seven properties Willis Dady owns. On Tuesday I’ll do the walkthroughs and write everything down that needs to be fixed. On Wednesday I will post the tenant notice so I can do the work right away on Thursday.

Q: How do you prioritize the work that needs to be done?

Outside of that process, emergencies will come up that need to be addressed immediately. Water leaks, electrical issues, and furnace issues are all emergencies. On the other side, if there’s a hole in an interior wall, that is not considered an emergency and the repair can wait for the walkthrough process. I figure out what is most urgent and determine the order from there.

Q: Why is it important to do maintenance checks?

It’s important because it helps you keep on top of everything and make sure it’s in working order. If you wait to do everything all at once it becomes a mountain of stuff to do.

Q: How would you define a healthy home?

A healthy home is somewhere safe, everything is in working order, and there are no dangers or hazards.

Q: What are some common dangers or hazards people should look out for? What can they do to prevent risk?

Lead and radon are two that Willis Dady mitigates for before clients move into our properties. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should also be working. Fire extinguishers need to be up to date.

Q: One last question: what does creating a healthy space for clients mean to you?

It’s huge to me. Starting over is tough anyways but starting over with a new place that is healthy gives you a leg up. You’ll wake up in a good mood and in a positive place. It’s a good way to start the day. It’s very important to me! Check out HUD’s consumer action guide for more healthy home basics:

Stay tuned for our next Healthy Homes blog post! We will be talking about how stable housing impacts your healthcare and walk through an all too common scenario that our clients face with their health care coverage.

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