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First house in Livable Housing Project to be unveiled

The Marshall University Minority Health Institute will hold a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15, to  unveil a home at 1211 19th St.  as part of the Livable Housing Project.

The Livable Housing Project was established through a groundbreaking collaboration between UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia and the Marshall University Minority Health Institute in October 2021. The $1 million community grant provided by UniCare helped establish a program aimed at improving the livability and conditions of this home and four others chosen throughout the state of West Virginia. The visionary partnership seeks to counteract the prevalent issue of substandard housing, that often affects minority households, causing health issues.

Dr. Anthony Woart is professor and chair of the Department of Public Health at Marshall University and founder/director of the Marshall University Minority Health Institute.

“Addressing social determinants of health is essential to addressing health disparities and health equity among minority and vulnerable populations,” Woart said. “I am therefore honored to have been a part of [the] Marshall University Minority Health Institute’s efforts in providing opportunities for livable housing among the minority and vulnerable populations of West Virginia as part of the institute’s mission and vision.”

The project liberates families from issues like mold and other concerns that arise when housing hasn’t been updated. With improved living conditions comes a feeling of hope and safety, according to Woart.

LaDawna Walker Dean is the minority health coordinator for the West Virginia Minority Health Initiative.

“Our work has just started by helping minority families throughout West Virginia be able to have access to safe, affordable, good-quality housing that can positively impact a person’s health, well-being and overall community equity,” Walker said.

The transformed home in Huntington belongs to Matthew and Angel Plante. They, along with distinguished members of the Huntington community, will be on hand for the unveiling of the first Livable Housing Project home that will stand for change in the minority community.

For more information on the Marshall University Minority Health Institute visit