Each year since 2001, the Michigan Cancer Consortium (MCC) has presented its highest honor - the MCC Spirit of Collaboration Award - to member organizations that have done outstanding collaborative work to significantly move comprehensive cancer control activities forward in our state. This year, the Genesee County Health Department was among the recipients of the award through its collaborative work on the Michigan Smoke-Free Housing Project. The other partners in the project receiving the honor include the Center for Social Gerontology’s Smoke-Free Environments Law Project (SFELP), South Eastern Michigan Indians, Inc., the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Chippewa County Health Department, Dickinson-Iron District Health Department, Ingham County Health Department, Marquette County Health Department, Muskegon County Health Department, Public Health Delta-Menominee, Washtenaw County Health Department, and Western Upper Peninsula Health

The project, which is made possible though funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, began in March 2010. Since the start of the project, the partnering agencies have contributed to an increase in the number of smoke-free public housing commissions from 34 to 56, including the three largest in Michigan (Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Lansing), an increase in the number of commercial tobacco-free tribal housing authority policies from 0 to 6, and an increase in the number of units of smoke-free other affordable housing properties available by over 12,000 units.As a result, an estimated 40,000 people are now covered by smoke-free public and affordable housing in Michigan that were not previously covered. Hundreds of new smoke-free properties are now available to low income residents and tribal members in Michigan.

Media efforts resulted in 7,299 general smoke-free housing television, radio, and print ads run since March 1, 2010, and 4,632 tribal-specific commercial tobacco smoke-free housing ads run during this same time period. The project partners have presented at a large number of landlord meetings, property management association meetings and conferences, seminars and
other property-specific presentations, and tenant surveys have been conducted assisting landlords in moving their property to smoke-free status. Partners make regular referrals to SEELP for legal assistance and expert direction, and SFELP in return puts property owners and tenants in touch with local contacts through the various partnerships. This collaborative
relationship is unique and has yielded excellent public health improvements in housing in Michigan, especially for low income residents.

“This is a wonderful honor, and we’re so pleased to be a part of such a collaborative team,” stated Health Officer Mark Valacak. “This is a great project because it provides healthy homes for residents in our community, and it makes great business sense for property owners. We continue to be available to property owners, managers, and tenants of multi-unit housing in
our community, and we look forward to assisting additional properties with going smoke-free.”

For more information about smoke-free housing visit
www.mismokefreeapartment.org . For more information about the Michigan Cancer Consortium visit www.michigancancer.org.