Good health is created where we live, work, learn and play. Public Health works with partners in the community, schools, child care, healthcare and workplaces in order to create a culture of health that supports and promotes healthy living by making healthy choices easier.
This work is supported by funding through the Minnesota Department of Health's Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), which is creating healthier communities across Minnesota by expanding opportunities for active living, healthy eating and tobacco-free living.
SHIP is designed to improve health by reducing the risk factors that contribute to chronic disease, thereby reducing health care costs.
When community members cannot access safe and affordable housing it impacts their physical and mental health. In 2018, the Division’s Health Equity Data Analysis found stark health disparities between renters and homeowners. For example, renters are more likely to exercise less, forgo medical care, and visit the dentist less often. Renters also reported poorer general health, more diagnosed depression and asthma.
To help reduce these disparities, Public Health has prioritized building relationships with renters and expanding their leadership skills. In collaboration with HOME Line, a nonprofit tenant advocacy organization, Public Health established an onsite presence at two large multiunit rental complexes in Bloomington. This work is further supported by a bilingual Community Health Worker in the Division.
Public Health identified three tenants to participate in a formal tenant leaders cohort, and began holding Tenant Coalition meetings in September 2022 to build connections among tenants. The Coalition is made up of tenants who are motivated to facilitate change toward bettering their living conditions and finding support within their buildings. Through these meetings, staff empowered renters as active participants in shaping the policy, systems and environments that influence opportunities for health where they live.
“I couldn’t wait to share some of the things I have been learning. I know that I’ll be developing skills I can take forward with me. Being a single mom working multiple jobs, I didn’t always have the time to participate in my community. To have a consistent way to give back, that’s what I see this [leadership role] as.” - Davina St. James, Tenant Leader Cohort member
Together, Public Health staff and tenants are leading the way to change policies, systems and environments at the intersection of health and housing. The partnership with HOME Line lends itself to statewide reach and collective impact to address social factors of health between housing providers, renters and local public health.
Learn more about what Public Health is doing in the community to promote healthy living. Contact your local SHIP Coordinator for more information.