How New Haven’s housing neglect produced a crisis of childhood asthma

Yale Daily News
March 14, 2021

Given that low-income families are more likely to live in poor-quality housing with asthma triggers, asthma is more than just a health problem — it is also a poverty and housing problem.

Alice Rosenthal, an attorney who specializes in medical issues of low-income families, set out to investigate Jaden’s substandard housing and address the root cause of his asthma. Rosenthal works with the Center for Children’s Advocacy in New Haven, a legal rights nonprofit for vulnerable children. At no charge to families, Rosenthal informs and advocates for children’s rights, and, in one-tenth of her cases, represents them in court.

After spending only one hour in Jaden’s apartment, Rosenthal said that she couldn’t breathe. She instinctively wanted to sue the landlord for violating health and safety standards — a lawsuit could force the landlord to replace the moldy carpets.

Jaden’s mother, however, objected. She told Rosenthal that she still needed to maintain her relationship with the landlord in order to have a home at all.

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