Clean Air at Home

Created by York Region’s Public Health and Housing Services, the Clean Air at Home pilot was designed to reduce exposure to indoor air contaminants among children from birth to six years old from low-income families. Extensive epidemiological research in conjunction with an analysis of the target audience helped guide early decisions around campaign needs and key messages, informing strategies used throughout the pilot. Program developers determined that an interpersonal approach with tenants from social housing complexes in the York Region would be most effective, challenging them to take five steps over five weeks to clean the air at home. A campaign tagline was carefully crafted to reduce perceived barriers, and developers made sure that all behavioral asks were small in addition to being low-cost, further reducing barriers to participation. Tenants were approached with an invitation to take the five-step challenge and given instructions on how to set weekly participation goals. Tenants also received a guidebook with information on the importance of clean air at home and steps to take to clean the air in addition to a toolkit containing all of the tools they would need to complete the challenge, and the opportunity to earn rewards through participation. Decals and magnets were used as at-home prompts reminding tenants of the desired behaviors and were used in conjunction with weekly reminders delivered via banners in the housing complexes and doorhangers placed on tenants’ doorknobs.  A community event gave residents the opportunity to make a signed commitment to the program and place it on a pledge board display making it visible to other tenants. Fifteen Community Champions were also recruited by program developers and met with York Region Public Health staff regularly to plan, promote, deliver, and offer feedback on the five-step challenge at their housing complexes. Approximately five weeks after campaign implementation door-to-door surveys with residents and interviews with Community Champions were conducted to evaluate the success of the program. In total, 76% of tenants at targeted housing units were engaged in the program, with 90% reporting increased knowledge of how to clean their air at home and 72% stating that they perform at least one of the five recommended steps more often than they did prior to the campaign.

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McKenzie-Mohr & Associates

Expertise in Community-Based Social Marketing