Insight News

Jan 24th


MN pilot website fans across region to help struggling families

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - A Minnesota Web site meant to help families access the available assistance in these difficult times has been successful and is now being adopted in others states in the region. The Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota says the multi-state pilot project improves the well-being of low-income families by linking them to public work support programs and tax credits.

(Health and Wellness) What is alcoholism? What is an alcoholic? Answers may vary

What is alcoholism? What is an alcoholic? Depending on who you ask, the answer you receive may vary.

HUD strongly encourages public housing to adopt smoke-free policies

ST. PAUL, MINN. – Last Friday, July 17, 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a notice (PIH2009-21 (HA)) strongly encouraging Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to implement non-smoking policies in some or all of their public housing units. The notice cites the harms of secondhand smoke as the primary reason for buildings to go smoke free: “Because Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) can migrate between units in multifamily housing, causing respiratory illness, heart disease, cancer, and other adverse health effects in neighboring families, the Department is encouraging PHAs to adopt non-smoking policies.”  The notice is available at or

“Children and the elderly comprise a large share of the residents in public housing. A considerable number of residents also have chronic diseases such as asthma and cardiovascular disease. These populations are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke exposure. Accordingly, the Minneapolis HUD Office stands by ready to assist any of the 124 Public Housing Authorities throughout Minnesota that administer the Public Housing Program with implementing an appropriate non-smoking policy,” said Minneapolis Field Office Director, Dexter J. Sidney.

Many public housing authorities in Minnesota have already adopted smoke-free policies; 24 have adopted a smoke-free policy for at least one of their buildings. Minnesota has the second highest number of public housing authorities with smoke-free policies in the country. In the metro, Carver County Community Development Agency, Dakota County Community Development Agency, and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority have adopted smoke-free policies for at least one of their buildings.

The Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) currently has two smoke-free buildings, and is planning for more. Kurt Keena, the Director of Property Management, has coordinated the CDA’s implementation of smoke-free policies. “The CDA felt it was important to offer a completely smoke-free housing option within our senior housing program. Doing so has allowed us to offer our residents an expanded range of choices in housing at affordable rents. The response has been quite positive, and we plan on expanding the option with future new developments,” he said.

Heritage Commons is a 102-unit smoke-free building owned by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. “Providing a smoke-free environment helps the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority achieve our mission to deliver quality, well-managed homes to a diverse low-income population and contribute to the well-being of the individuals, families and community we serve,” said Shannon Hartfiel, Property Manager at Heritage Commons.

Minnesota renters looking for smoke-free apartment buildings can find them by using an online directory compiled by the Association for Nonsmokers—Minnesota (ANSR)’s Live Smoke Free program. The online directory,, lists more than 250 Minnesota apartment buildings that are 100 percent smoke free. The directory provides renters with a free, easy way to search for apartment buildings that do not allow smoking inside the building or individual apartment units.  

“Tenants are looking for smoke-free apartments. With the strong stance HUD has taken to encourage the adoption of smoke-free policies, we anticipate many more apartment buildings in the Twin Cities metro area will go smoke free,” said Brittany McFadden, Director of Live Smoke Free.

For information on finding or listing a smoke-free apartment building, please contact Live Smoke Free at (651) 646-3005 or

Children demand real child health reform legislation in Congress for all children

As legislators on Capitol Hill make crucial decisions right now to reform America's broken health care system, thousands of children across the country raised their voices demanding health coverage for all children during the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® annual National Day of Social Action. A summer literacy enrichment model, the CDF Freedom Schools® program provides free summer and after-school reading and cultural enrichment programs for thousands of children at sites from California to Maryland and from Minnesota to Texas and Florida. Each child is required to engage in a service activity. They also are empowered to be an active citizen and raise their voices for just treatment for themselves and others. All learn about the vital role children played in the Civil Rights Movement in ending legal segregation in our country.

Bridget's battle

Desni and Bob Crock want their two-year-old daughter Bridget to have everything she needs to fight the rare cancer that's attacking her lung, but they find themselves fighting a second battle at the same time—a battle to survive financially because of soaring health care costs.

AIDS activists not surprised by D.C.’s No. 1 ranking

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Given the District of Columbia’s predominantly Black population, ignoring the AIDS epidemic for years and its large number of homosexuals, no one should be surprised that the nation’s capital has the highest AIDS rate in the United States, a leading AIDS activist says.

Health coverage: Making too little, making too much?

The James family in Fort Worth, Texas, should be celebrating right now. After losing his last job due to the difficult economy, Jason James, who worked as a supervisor at a warehouse company, had been searching for new employment for months. When he finally found a new position, his job offer coincided with wife Misty receiving a raise at her job. It was a happy time for the couple―until they realized that their combined income was now over the Texas Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) income limit for their family, $44,100 for a family of four or 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
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