It’s a proven fact that those living in low-income communities are more vulnerable to health problems that stem from poor indoor air quality and poor living conditions in general.
Most of the time, people think that green, healthy building just isn’t within reach for anyone other than the rich and well-to-do’s. That may have been partially true in the past, but that’s quickly changing thanks to several factors, people and organizations. Take for example the USGBG LEED program (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) and the FCH (First Community Housing).
Here are just a few examples of what they’re accomplishing…
Rice Camp in Lihue, Hawaii
Rice Camp, located back behind the Lihue fire station, is an affordable housing community that offers 60 living units. The Vitus Group, along with Kauai County and EAH, are developing this community. It’s expected to meet the LEED Gold Certification, as well as meet the requirements to be Green Point Rated by Build it Green.
It’s not what you’d typically think of when you think of an affordable housing community, either. Residents of the new Rice Camp will enjoy a multitude of amenities that help create a sustainable, healthy living environment including:
- Plumbing fixtures designed to save water
- Ceiling fans
- Energy star appliances
- Community garden plots
In addition, there’s a central management center for the community and areas where community and social activities can be held.
Anyone interested in applying for a unit will need to meet certain qualification, which include HUD income limits.
New Orleans Lower Ninth – Make it Right
Another example is the Lower Ninth in New Orleans. This was probably the hardest-hit area by Hurricane Katrina. Thanks to Make it Right, 150 affordable, green-living homes are expected to built. 100 have been built so far. Each one has earned the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council: LEED Platinum.
Homeowners lucky enough to call one of these houses home will be able to pick from over 20 designs that average 1,400 square feet (for a single family home). A duplex? Sure. A home for a single-family? You got it. They even get to choose the details: floors, cabinets, counter tops, color of paint.
There’s an amazing, solar powered, ecofriendly community playground. There are also community gardens. Over 350 people are now enjoying life here where, merely four years ago or so, was an empty, dreary, uninhabited place.
It isn’t just low income or senior living spaces that are getting attention either. The FCH has accommodations for just about anyone, anywhere, even if it’s temporary housing. Hopefully in the near future, there will be projects and organizations stepping up to the plate in every community across the country that needs it.