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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • St James HRA adopts Smoke Free Policy for Park Apartments

  • Park Apartments, a HUD based apartment building was designed to promote and provide affordable healthy housing to tenants.

    The St James HRA board adopted a smoke free policy that will go into effect on April 1, 2013, with the goal of promoting a safe, healthy living community for its residents.
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  • Park Apartments, a HUD based apartment building was designed to promote and provide affordable healthy housing to tenants.
    The St James HRA board adopted a smoke free policy that will go into effect on April 1, 2013, with the goal of promoting a safe, healthy living community for its residents.  
    The smoke-free policy covers all units, all common areas, and 25 feet around the perimeter of the building with the exception of the patio.
    The policy also includes e-cigarettes in their definition of tobacco products that are prohibited.  
    Linda Blackstad, Executive Director for the St James HRA and Park Apartments, says the board chose to put the smoke-free policy into effect as a way to prevent secondhand smoke exposure in the building.
     “The health and well being of residents is our top priority.  A smoke-free building is safer and contributes to a better living environment,” she said.  
    “We want Park Apartments to be a home all residents will enjoy,” said Blackstad. “Park Apartments will offer smoke free living, and offers low-income housing that is close to downtown businesses. This allows residents to access services and amenities that they need within walking distance.  Management is onsite, offers onsite parking, an exercise room, and social events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.”
    Linda Blackstad, HRA and Park Apartments Director is excited to see the policy go into effect.
    She commented, “By adopting a smoke-free policy, Park Apartments has the opportunity to promote a completely healthy environment for our residents.  We have heard many positive comments about the building going smoke-free on April 1. Many residents know that it is not healthy to be around secondhand smoke.”
    “The smoke-free policy at Park Apartments will enhance their mission to offer a healthy environment. They are doing a wonderful thing for their residents by offering a completely smoke-free living environment,” said Bonnie Frederickson, Community Specialist for the Cottonwood-Jackson-Faribault-Martin-Watonwan Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).  
    “In Minnesota and across the nation, owners and managers of multi-unit housing are adopting and implementing voluntary smoke-free policies for their apartments to protect tenants from exposure from secondhand smoke.  This is the only way that tenants are fully protected,” Frederickson said.  
    SHIP has also worked with Live Smoke Free—a noon-profit program that promotes smoke-free apartments living throughout Minnesota.   
    About the Statewide Health Improvement Program:
    The Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), an integral part of Minnesota’s nation-leading 2008 health reform law, strives to help Minnesotans lead longer, healthier lives by preventing the chronic disease risk factors of tobacco use and exposure, poor nutrition and physical inactivity.
    Local SHIP activities and mini-grant projects are funded by a Minnesota Department of Health SHIP grant to Human Services of Faribault & Martin Counties in collaboration with Cottonwood and Jackson Counties Community Health Services and Watonwan County Human Services.

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