The Importance Of A “Healthy Home” To Your Family’s Well-Being

It’s June and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has kicked off this year’s National Healthy Homes Month, an annual campaign highlighting the direct link between housing quality and residents’ health.

National Healthy Homes Month serves to educate families and communities about the importance of creating and maintaining a healthy home by addressing home-based hazards, including reducing moisture and mold, improving ventilation, controlling pests, and maintaining indoor air quality.

This year’s theme of Connecting home, health, and YOU, highlights the link between housing quality and health, and is designed to raise awareness of the need to lower costs for families by preventing injury and illnesses, improving and preserving the supply of affordable housing, and improving the quality of life for vulnerable populations.

We spend about 90 percent of our lives indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s why it’s vitally important to understand the relationship of your home to your health.

Everyone deserves to live in a healthy home. A home can support the health of your family as much as lifestyle and diet. It is important for people of all ages to know how to make their home safe and healthy.

Currently, millions of U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical housing problems, including dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels. These conditions are associated with a wide range of health issues, including unintentional injuries, respiratory illnesses like asthma and radon-induced lung cancer, and lead poisoning.

The health and economic burdens from preventable hazards associated within a home are considerable, and cost billions of dollars.

So, what can you do?

Fortunately, there are some really simple ways to help make your home a healthier place for you and your family.

By following HUD’s Eight Healthy Homes Principles below, you can help make your home a healthier place to live in.

What are the Eight Principles of a Healthy Home?

1. Keep It Dry
Prevent water from entering your home through leaks in roofing systems, rain water from entering the home due to poor drainage, and check your interior plumbing for any leaking.

2. Keep It Clean
Control the source of dust and contaminants, creating smooth and cleanable surfaces, reducing clutter, and using effective wet-cleaning methods.

3. Keep It Safe
Store poisons out of the reach of children and properly label. Secure loose rugs and keep children’s play areas free from hard or sharp surfaces. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep fire extinguishers on hand.

4. Keep It Well-Ventilated
Ventilate bathrooms and kitchens and use whole house ventilation for supplying fresh air to reduce the concentration of contaminants in the home.

5. Keep it Pest-free
All pests look for food, water and shelter. Seal cracks and openings throughout the home; store food in pest-resistant containers. If needed, use sticky-traps and baits in closed containers, along with least toxic pesticides such as boric acid powder.

6. Keep it Contaminant-free
Reduce lead-related hazards in pre-1978 homes by fixing deteriorated paint, and keeping floors and window areas clean using wet-cleaning approach. Test your home for radon, a naturally occurring dangerous gas that enters homes through soil, crawlspaces, and foundation crack. Install a radon removal system if levels above the EPA action-level are detected.

7. Keep your home Maintained
Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely. Take care of minor repairs and problems before they become large repairs and problems

8. Thermally Controlled
Houses that do not maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.

Is your home healthy? Learn more about healthy homes, asthma, and lead at

Take a Healthy Homes Do It Yourself Assessment for your home at:

Juneteenth: Meet Opal Lee, The ‘Grandmother’ Of Juneteenth

Opal Lee, nicknamed the Grandmother of Juneteenth, saw her family’s home in Fort Worth, Texas, burned to the ground by a mob of 500 white rioters. The date was June 19, 1939.

In January 2017, she arrived at the Nation’s Capital, completing a five-month march that urged lawmakers to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

At 89 years old, she had walked two and a half miles a day from her home in Fort Worth, T.X. to Washington, D.C. to advocate for national unity around this celebration of freedom.

On June 17, 2021, she saw her dream become a reality when President Joe Biden signed legislation that recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday, adding a powerful narrative to our nation’s history.

Last year, Lee was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her decades-long advocacy efforts surrounding Juneteenth. Though Lee didn’t win, she said she was still “surprised” and “humbled” by the nomination.

Lee told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that she plans to continue her advocacy work by raising money for the National Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, a $70 million project.

Article by Amy Schlag, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at the City of Wilmington.  This is part two. of a three-part series.

Connecting Our City One Step At A Time

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll with a friend, or opportunities to stay active with the whole family this summer, the City of Wilmington is working hard to maintain and expand our greenway systems and multi-use paths for you to enjoy.

We believe keeping our bikes, hikes, and nature trails in tip top shape is key to supporting great quality of life and health in our community. With the rapid growth of our thriving city, complementing and expanding our existing trail system is part of a long-term plan to make the city more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

In celebration of the “Year of the Trail,” we invite you to take a walk (or ride) with us on any of our 32 miles of multi-use trails and explore a few of our favorite views:

  • Greenfield Lake Park Trail – 4.8-mile paved loop around Greenfield Lake
  • River to the Sea Bikeway – 11-mile on and off-road bicycle route from downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach
  • The Riverwalk – 1.75-mile scenic walkway adjacent to the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington
  • Summer Rest Trail – 1.15-mile shaded path that ends overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway
  • Gary Shell Cross City Trail – 5-mile multi-use, off-road trail running through Wade Park, Halyburton Park and Empie Park

    Wade Park Loop: 0.6-mile paved path around Wade Park

    Halyburton Park Loop: 1.3-mile paved path around Halyburton nature preserve

See a full list

Explore Our Trail Locator Map


This “Year of the Trail” the city is developing two exciting projects which represent an additional 5.8 miles of multiuse paths aimed to support the rapidly expanding network of trails connecting our beautiful community.

Greenville Loop Trail

The Greenville Loop Trail is taking shape this year. Once completed, the 4.4-mile path will link schools, parks, shopping centers, and residential neighborhoods in the southeast quadrant of Wilmington.

A map of Greenville Loop Trail
A map of Greenville Loop Trail

Masonboro Loop Trail

Construction on this 1.4-mile multi-use path is underway. When complete in October of this year, this Transportation Bond trail will run along the west side of Masonboro Loop Road from Pine Grove Drive to Navaho Trail.

A map of Masonboro Loop Trail
A map of Masonboro Loop Trail

Juneteenth Part 1 of 3: Did You Know? 

Like much of African American history, the road to understanding, acknowledging, and celebrating Juneteenth has been a hard-fought battle.

Three months after rebellious Southern states refused to relent to the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. This happened in a moment millions had been praying for at Watch Night events on New Year’s Eve, 1862, in anticipation of what Frederick Douglass called, “the glorious morning of liberty about to dawn upon us.”

Waiting for the Hour, Carte-de-visite of an emancipation watch night meeting 1863. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

It would take more than two years and a devastating Civil War for that dawn to finally arrive. Even with the ending of the Civil War on April 9, 1865, states such as Texas continued to engage in military battles, and slave owners fought to retain their “property” until May, when Major General Gordon Granger and 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston, T.X., delivering news of emancipation.

Juneteenth celebrates the June 19, 1865 issuance of General Order No. 3, a four-sentence order, that radically broke with our nation’s history and culture, and declared, “all slaves are free.”

As Annette Gordon-Reed, author of On Juneteenth, put it, this order not only declared slaves free, but it “announced a state of affairs that completely contravened the racial and economic ideas,” upon which America was built, by declaring “an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”

While the United States delivered on its promise to end slavery with the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve absolute equality across our nation.

Article by Amy Schlag, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at the City of Wilmington.  This is part one of a three-part series.

Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do.”

President Barack Obama