Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) and the Mayors Innovation Project recently awarded the City of Madison a $10,000 grant as part of their 2021 Healthy Babies Initiative. The program empowers city leaders to improve children’s health and reduce health disparities in communities by supporting efforts that decrease neurotoxic exposures. Madison was one of five selected proposals.

The City of Madison will use the grant to conduct research, engagement, and planning on how incorporate mold and lead abatement into a program to help conduct energy efficiency retrofits in affordable housing – work that was recently funded from a State grant. This work will be conducted in partnership with Sustain Dane, Elevate, Public Health Madison Dane County, University of Wisconsin School of Health, Northside Planning Council, and others.

This grant helps us advance our goal to prioritize our sustainability efforts to achieve multiple benefits. If we are successful at adding mold and lead abatement to our efforts, we will be able to improve the health of moderate income renters while reducing their bills and reducing our carbon emissions.

“From COVID, to lead contamination, to food insecurity, and the racial and economic inequities present in each of these, cities and mayors around the country are under intense pressure to respond to these compounding crises,” said Katya Spear, Co-Managing Director of the Mayors Innovation Project. “This project offers an opportunity to support and lift up innovative local programs that will have real impacts on children’s health in both the short and long-term.”

“This project helps to weave a net of resilience for the children in Madison,” said Kyra Naumoff Shields, HBBF’s Bright Cities Program Director. “Madison’s project provides a scalable model ready for uptake by other US cities. But, the ultimate winners are the babies in our lives whose health — and opportunity for a fairer start in life — is dramatically improved.”

I’m grateful to all our partners on this project, and am committed to making sure that our work on climate change benefits our entire community. That’s why I’ve proposed continuing this project for an additional year with ARPA funding. I hope this will let us improve housing for even more families in Madison.

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