top of page

Canary Homes Project to Provide Affordable Housing for Chronic Disease Communities

Updated: Apr 23

What is Canary Homes?

To start the project Canary Homes want to build homes for people who have Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Long COVID, Lyme disease, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), and other chronic diseases that make them chemically-sensitive and highly susceptible to environmental conditions, hence the name ‘canaries’.

The Canary Homes project is designed to address the unique housing and health challenges of these growing communities, many of which often must resort to living in their vehicle due to their sensitivity to conventional homes. The homes are designed to be safe and environmentally friendly, with a focus on holistic well-being and sustainability.

This team is working to create solutions to the complex and unmet housing needs faced by individuals who are most vulnerable to and impacted by the harmful effects of conventional building materials. For these growing communities, there are neither enough resources or infrastructure to transition vulnerable individuals into safe living environments, free of toxic exposure.

The first project is for a ME/CFS and MCAS patient Jessie DeDecker, a 30-year-old resident of Hastings, MI.  Despite the numerous grueling surgeries and years of treatments, Jessie is only able to leave the house for short periods of time and only for essential trips like going to see her doctors. She had to move in with family when she discovered that the mold and other contaminants in her aging apartment were causing her fragile health to further deteriorate and she was unable to identify any other housing within her limited price range.

She lives in chronic pain, is extremely sensitive to light, sound, chemicals, and temperature, and needs to sleep 12+ hours a night in order to maintain any semblance of function. Something as simple as taking a shower leaves her exhausted and in increased pain, and it takes her days to fully recover from even the simplest exertion. While the surgeries and other treatments have helped some with her quality of life, she is still extremely limited in her capacity to live a meaningful life.

Factors like mold, noise pollution, and VOCs, which are minor inconveniences for healthy individuals, can be completely debilitating for people who have these conditions, including Jessie. Older houses suffer from years of moisture exposure leading to mold and mildew, as well as having pests, dust, and other allergens accumulated in ductwork.

The initial development of the Canary Homes project will provide a reproducible model for homes that are safe and environmentally friendly, with features that protect residents that are highly susceptible to factors like mold, pests, and chemical irritants.

What is the Event?

The Canary Homes initiative is hosting an upcoming community event, “Natural Building and Healthy Home Symposium,” on May 11th, at the Commongrounds Cooperative in Traverse City, MI. Builders, health professionals, and community members will be engaged for a full day to learn and discuss how natural building practices and natural/non-toxic materials can be used to create homes that are more healthy, more affordable, and more in harmony with nature.

At the event panelists will discuss aspects of toxic built environments, from chemical off-gassing to mold and fungus, and how these factors impact human health and chronic illness. These discussions will inform architects, builders, and community members to make more informed environmental choices.

Register for the event here.

Who is Organizing and why?

This project is a collaboration between Canary Homes and the Crosshatch Green Building Guild, with contributions from Hemp 4 Humanity, iHempMichigan, Woodsedge Wellness Center, Balecraft and Pandolfi Productions

“By starting with affordable housing that meets the needs of the chemically-sensitive community we can make sure our Canary Home designs meet the highest possible standard for healthy housing” said Cody Ley, Co-Founder of Hemp 4 Humanity. “We believe that everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to live, and we are committed to making that a reality for everyone, starting with the ME/CFS, Long COVID, MCAS and Lyme disease communities.”



Laurie DeDecker

Canary Homes

77 views0 comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page