The Health and Safety of Low Income Homes in the Greensboro Area

Student Classification

Ka’Najah Williams, 4th-year, Environmental Health and Safety Wilhelm Robinson, 1st-year, Construction Management

Faculty Mentor

Dr.Ferguson Built Environment Department

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


People (especially elderly and young children) spend a significant amount of time indoors. The safety and health of a home is critical to maintain health and happiness for residents. Physical hazards such as fall trip hazards may be present in homes, while chemical hazards such as high levels of gasses such as carbon monoxide and methane are harmful. Residents should prioritize keeping their homes safe to improve their quality of life, but may need assistance such as learning materials and tips to improve home conditions. This study aims to improve the health of low-income homes by assessing the condition of homes (through a sampling strategy) and investigating residents' level of understanding of hazards and risks. We are currently collecting particulates and testing for carbon monoxide, oxygen level, methane gas, and hydrogen sulfide in 50 homes over a 6 hr period as a part of our sampling strategy. Particulate sampling will address mass loads and the presence of heavy metals in the home (e.g., lead). In addition, we are conducting two 5-minute air sampling to look for any possible viral or bacterial load and type within the home (e.g., use of pumps with agar plates and via-cells). We are also conducting walk-through assessment in the home to look at the condition of the home (trip fall hazards, holes in wall, filter change). Residents will also complete a pre-survey on their knowledge about home hazards. Following their review of our educational materials (i.e., flyers on home hazards and tips, along with a 45-minute educational video created by our research team), residents will complete a post-survey to look at changes in their knowledge on home hazards. Our poster will focus on results to date across the homes where data has been assessed. Across the few homes sampled so far, the following bacterial types were found at varying levels: penicillium, curvularia, epicoccum, cladosporium, and periconia. Levels of contaminants will be compared against standards and recommendations. This study will give further insight to provide the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with information on low-income and minority homes. This NCAT research team is part of the Howard University Center funded through HUD. We hope an increase in resident knowledge will allow them to improve the condition and quality of their homes.

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