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Plumbing Poverty as a Social Determinant of Health: Measuring the Effects of Public

Complete and adequate plumbing in people’s homes is a growing concern for Michigan communities and affects poor and minority households disproportionately. The State of Michigan recently committed $1.5 million to a pilot program to fund residential plumbing repairs through the Social Determinants of Health Housing Stability Health Home Pilot Plumbing Repair Assistance program. The Wayne Metro Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro), along with the Human Development Commission and the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, has been chosen by the state to participate in the pilot and spend funds to support households in Detroit that lack access to water services. In this project the researchers will work with Wayne Metro to collect information about program participants and measure and track the benefits accrued to participants following plumbing repairs in their homes. Their aims are to 1) Understand the demographic and economic profile of program participants; 2) Measure the multidimensional effects of program participation; and 3) Communicate their findings to participants and state policymakers. They will work collaboratively with Wayne Metro to develop and implement before and after surveys to participants in their residential plumbing repair program. The findings will be used to inform participants of program outcomes; to inform Wayne Metro of program performance; and to communicate program benefits to state policymakers who see these initial investments as a pilot. The researchers will use the findings to develop recommendations for future investments and program structures in the state.

Sara Hughes, School for Environment and Sustainability