Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has launched a new Community Asthma Prevention Program Plus (CAPP+) Home Repairs Program, developed to address the impact of unhealthy housing on pediatric asthma outcomes in West Philadelphia neighborhoods. Developed in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation(PHDC), CAPP+ is the pilot initiative of Healthier Together, CHOP’s new umbrella initiative that focuses on some of the most pressing health and economic needs in neighborhoods surrounding the hospital’s campus.

Asthma affects approximately one out of four children in West Philadelphia. Through a grant to PHDC, CHOP aims to further reduce asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations by incorporating home repairs.

CAPP’s community health workers will continue providing home asthma education and environmental intervention as they have since the program began in 1997, while PHDC will concentrate on remediating asthma triggers in the home, such as moisture and mold caused by plumbing leaks, carpet removal and pest infestations to improve air quality.

Air quality monitors will be installed in every home, as will dehumidifiers when needed. CAPP+ participants may also be eligible for PHDC’s Basic System Repair Program, which provides repairs to correct electrical, plumbing, heating, structural and roofing emergencies.

“After 20 years of working with families in West Philadelphia, I am convinced that the increased prevalence of asthma and poor housing are closely related,” said Tyra Bryant-Stephens, MD, Founder and Medical Director of CAPP at CHOP. “This innovative and exciting initiative allows us to focus on ensuring that homes in this community are ‘asthma friendly’ and improving child asthma outcomes for underserved populations.”

Focusing on the actual homes patients are living in, CAPP+ has identified 10 homes to be part of the pilot initiative. Selected patients must be enrolled in the CAPP program, have three or more ED visits in a year, live in the targeted geographic area and be a homeowner. Currently, remediation is underway on two of the homes; one is near completion. After repairs are finalized, patients and asthma ED visits will continue to be monitored for a year.

Besides fewer ED visits and hospital stays, benchmarks of CAPP+ include fewer missed school days for kids and work for families, and lower healthcare costs. Another priority for this program is a mutual agreement that PHDC will use minority- and women-owned business enterprises for home repairs and supplies whenever possible.

“The City is proud to partner with CHOP to launch CAPP+, a vital tool to address unhealthy housing and help our most vulnerable homeowners and their families improve their quality of living,” said Mayor James Kenney. “We see it as a win-win to be able to support households in need while also providing contractors the opportunity to work on these homes and sustain their businesses.”