Monday, July 7, 2008

Norwood Tenants Address Lack of Health Insurance

  • WHO: Norwood Tenant Association, the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs (OLA), Planned Parenthood, and the Hispanic Institute for Blindness Prevention
  • WHAT: Community Health Fair
  • WHEN: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 from 1:00pm to 6:00pm
  • WHERE: 1417 N St NW

On Tuesday, July 8th, the Norwood Tenants Association will be partnering with Planned Parenthood, Hispanic Institute for Blindness Prevention, and the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs to host a community health fair in the lobby of 1417 N Street, NW. The health fair will include free preventive eye care exams, information about HIV/AIDS prevention, and volunteers to help families and individuals sign up for DC Alliance Health Insurance.

Many kids and working families at the Norwood Apartments do not have health insurance, much like the 76,000 Washingtonians who find themselves in a similar situation despite working one or more full time jobs. However there are options for these families to obtain low cost or even free coverage through the DC Alliance Health Insurance program. The most important way to protect kids and families is to provide accurate information and access to key preventative services.

“The Norwood Tenants Association is holding this event as part of our ongoing commitment to the people in our community,” says co-President Silvia Salazar. Salazar explains that as a result of organizing, the tenants at the Norwood have learned firsthand that many fellow tenants are in need of something more than just a roof over their heads. As the tenants’ ongoing efforts to improve building conditions at the Norwood continue, the health of the community also depends upon improving access to health care services and health education.

In April 2008 the Norwood Tenants Association partnered with the DC Fire Prevention Bureau to host a neighborhood fire safety awareness event. The DC Fire Department inspected the Norwood and a neighboring apartment building, finding and replacing 48 non-working smoke detectors in the buildings. In July 2007, tenants faced over 30 days at the Norwood without a working elevator. The tenants association held a lemonade gathering to provide support and information for fellow tenants. Lemonade will be served at the health fair as a reminder that many building problems, including bedbugs and mold, persist.

The Norwood apartment building was included in the recent Washington Post series, “Forced Out,” about deteriorating rent-controlled buildings targeted for condo conversion (“The Profit In Decay” 3-19-08). The tenants of the Norwood said ‘no’ to a condo pitch by the Tenacity Group in January 2007, and instead demanded that problems be fixed ‘today.’ Tenants at the Norwood call for an end to persistent housing code violations, and remain committed to preserving affordable housing.