While the ATAHC Program presently targets bed bugs as it rolls out nationally, there are other residential health issues in affordable housing in the pipeline. Notable among these is asthma: in 2017, the Urban Society cited the asthma rate of all children aged 5-17 living in public housing is a startling 27% in contrast to the national average of 8% of all children who suffer from this affliction. Childhood asthma is the leading cause of school absences. This has a dual effect: disproportionately affecting the learning process for affordable and public housing students while also requiring a parent to
miss work to care for the child.
The ability of ATAHC to widen its scope of service when analyzing the public housing environment in which it presently works heightens familiarity with other health issues endemic to these communities. Buoyed by the trust ATAHC has earned among residents, it can observe firsthand the real-world impact asthma affects and discuss with families its harmful effects on school attendance, educational achievement, required medical and hospital care, and concurrent parental work absences. This earned trust and confidence allows ATAHC to approach the asthma problem as it has handled the bed bug
scourge: by organizing professionals to work with community residents and health professionals to minimize the condition’s incidence through the reduction of other structural pests including rodents, roaches, and human dust mites.