Appearing on the local, weekly public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up, Broome County Health Department Department of Environmental Health Program Director, Mark Schuster points out the home environment has a big impact on the health of residents

The Health Department recently hosted an inaugural housing summit called "Health Starts at Home."

Schuster says not only local health officials but also representatives from the New York State Department of Health, City of Rochester, Onondaga County Health Department and local municipalities talked about issues like enforcement tenant rights, improving rental standards and shared housing databases.

Schuster says children's health is greatly impacted by the conditions at home ranging from lead paint to nutrition and even consistent utilities.  He adds there can be a big challenge in dealing with absentee landlords in maintaining properties and enforcing conditions of leases.

Meanwhile, Schuster says, on the tenant side, there is a challenge getting residents to report code violations for fear of eviction.  He says that fear is unfounded and authorities can help to make sure there is no retribution for reporting issues.

Representatives are going to multiple and single family housing units routinely to identify issues and help residents address any possible problems or questions.

More information on health issues, contact the Health Department at 778-3930 or on the internet:

Southern Tier Close Up can be heard Saturdays at 12:10 p.m. on News Radio 1290 WNBF.