Healthiest Cities and Counties Community Spotlight Series: Ingham County, Michigan

Tags: Health

The Ingham County Home Initiative is working to increase health opportunities by reducing tobacco use and the number of children exposed to secondhand smoke in HUD-funded living spaces.

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Ingham County, Mich.: Healthy Apartment Home Smoke-Free Housing Manual

What are some of the greatest health challenges that the members in your community face?

Poverty, racism, broken homes, food access, lack of transportation, safe child care, medical marijuana outlets and proliferation of liquor stores.

What are some of the health initiatives, specifically related to the Challenge's work, that are taking place in your community?

With the resources of the Challenge, we have created an Implementation Guide to help Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  and other subsidized apartment buildings transition to smoke-free environments while also adding in wellness and community-building programs.

Can you share either a personal story or an observation that might help illustrate the impact this initiative and/or the Challenge has had on you/your community?

When we started helping a HUD high-rise that was going to adopt a smoke-free property policy, the tenants were upset about tobacco and marijuana smoke. When we brought in the smoke-free policy we also talked about what was keeping them from being more healthy. The facility had a work-out room, but it was always locked. During the Community Feedback Session this was discussed and as a result, the Workout Room has scheduled open hours with a volunteer to help.

Have you experienced any major successes or challenges so far with this initiative? If so, can you elaborate?

Yes, several other subsidized apartments housing elderly and disabled citizens have adopted a smoke-free policy. By using the manual, a policy was adopted, and the value-added benefit was that programs like: A Matter of Balance and Chronic Disease Prevention models were brought into the community at the same day and time as the Feedback Sessions. That time and day became a place to come for support and good programming.

Can you describe the progress of your project? What has been accomplished?

Seven subsidized housing agencies have adopted a smoke-free property policy and each of them has also brought in health-improvement and community-development projects also.

What does it mean to be part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge?

To the Ingham County Health Department, the Challenge has helped us to network with other innovative projects and create a stronger team that supports our overall health 

Adapted from the original post on the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge Learning Network. For more information on this and other Healthiest Cities and County Challenge Projects, visit the Challenge website at

Counties across the nation have accepted the challenge to make measurable changes in their community  as Finalists in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. This County Spotlight Series highlights county Challenge teams’ progress and achievements.

Click here to view the full series.

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