Dakota County Receives 2020 NACo Achievement Award for Smoke-Free Housing

Hats off to our partners at the Dakota County Public Health Department (DCPH) and the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) for receiving a 2020 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for their smoke-free housing efforts! Big thanks to HealthPartners for their partnership and support to help CDA residents quit smoking. Live Smoke Free was privileged to work with all of these community partners to help protect Dakota County residents from secondhand smoke exposure in affordable housing. Read the abstract below. Learn more about the 2020 NACo Achievement Awards here

Building Lasting Partnerships for Successful Smoke-Free Affordable Housing

In December 2016, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a final rule requiring all public housing to go smoke-free by July 2018. This rule applied to 323 of the Dakota County Community Development Agency’s (CDA) 2,891 residential units. While HUD’s final rule only applied to a small percentage of the CDA’s units, the CDA chose to make all of their units smoke-free and teamed up with Dakota County Public Health to draft new policies, engage multiple community partners, and offer smoking cessation support to residents.From 2017 through 2019, Dakota County Public Health and CDA staff collaborated to implement an agency-wide smoke-free policy that went above and beyond HUD’s requirements by including e-cigarettes and banning smoking on the entire property. This large undertaking required staff training, resident engagement, and smoking cessation support for a population that is disproportionately affected by the negative health impacts of commercial tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke. To ensure that new housing was smoke-free going forward, the CDA added a smoke-free threshold requirement to the 2019 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plan, ensuring that all developers receiving tax credits for eligible projects must have a written policy prohibiting smoking.