Can Taxing Empty Apartments Help the Affordable Housing Crisis?


Affordable Housing for Seniors- A Reality Check

Some houses, apartments, and other living spaces can remain unoccupied for most months in the year. Meanwhile, America faces a dilemma of affordable housing options. As government officials grapple with potential solutions that will ensure people can afford a physical home, one study suggests implementing an empty-house tax can change the housing crisis status quo. Cities that have implemented such legislation have seen positive results in their economy and rates of unoccupied homes. “Housing prices are impacted by supply, and if there are thousands of homes that sit unused, even a fraction of that becoming available will have a real impact on prices,” Alex Tran, Housing Community Development Commissioner of San Jose told the San Jose Spotlight. “We are looking at these ...

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Dangerous ‘Forever Chemicals’ Contaminate Food Across the U.S


FDA PFAS Contamination Food

Hazardous firefighting substances are tainting a wide range of foods, exposing numerous Latinos and Americans to harmful materials that do not break down in the body over time. The FDA confirmed widespread per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) contamination this week. Their findings show high levels of the substance in meat, seafood, dairy, vegetable, and dessert products, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “Measuring PFAS concentrations in food, estimating dietary exposure and determining the associated health effects is an emerging area of science,” the FDA writes in a statement. Additionally, FDA spokesperson Tara Rabin told the Associated Press that most contamination levels were “not likely to be a human health concern.” Investigation Findings and ...

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Did That Last Fast Food Run Increase Your Risk of Cancer?



The way you eat can have a significant impact on your overall health. Food choices can even be the cause of developing invasive cancers, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Cancer Spectrum. Researchers found that individual diets could play a factor in 80,110 of the newly reported invasive cancer cases in 2015. That's 5.2% of the total number of cases among U.S. adults from that year. “Our findings underscore the opportunity to reduce the cancer burden and disparities in the United States by improving food intake,” said Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, one of the study's authors and a cancer, nutrition researcher at Tufts University. About the Study Researchers analyzed nationally-representative information to identify trends between ...

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Minnesota Bans Dangerous PFAS in Many Consumer Goods, Elevates Firefighter Safety


Minnesota PFAS Ban

When alarmingly high levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminated Bemidji, Minnesota’s (5.4% Latino) water, the city shut down two of its five wells. The city is planning to build a new $2 million well to ensure clean water. State lawmakers saw the harm PFAS, which are used as flame retardants, pose. So, the Minnesota (1.5% Latino) legislators passed a bill that bans those health-harming substances in many products used by consumers. Even worse, when those items catch fire, they release noxious fumes into the air, which harms firefighters throughout the country. “What we've learned over time is that those chemicals actually don't do much as far as fire protection,” Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, one of the bill's authors, told Minnesota Public Radio ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 6/11: Air Quality and Pollution


Air Quality and Pollution Chat

Air quality impacts a lot more than what you might think. Noxious gasses and fumes contaminate the atmosphere every day, and the problem is getting worse — especially for Latinos and other minorities. Current government policies are also making the problem worse through roll-back initiatives. This year, the EPA is taking steps to reduce air pollution rules. These regulation reductions would give companies more room to emit higher levels of harmful substances. If enacted, those policies could expose more Americans to harm, causing greater long-term health impacts. Let’s use #SaludTues on Twitter on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, to discuss why our air quality is so important and what everyone can do to make a difference in this issue: WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Air ...

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City Health Dashboard Provides New Innovative Features



Just two years after launching, the City Health Dashboard is adding new features to dig deeper into neighborhood- and city-specific data to guide local solutions to local health issues. Most data on urban areas focuses on the county, state, or national levels. The City Health Dashboard , however, pulls together local data from multiple sources to provide cities with a one-stop, regularly refreshed data center to help identify local gaps in opportunity and support decision-making to address factors that shape health. Now the Dashboard is adding new features and showcasing them at a webinar on June 5. What’s New? In June, the City Health Dashboard is giving cities additional data and new innovative features. The new data allow local leaders to dig deeper into neighborhood- ...

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Redlining Is Illegal, But It’s Still Hurting Latino Families


redlining map of new orleans housing

Historically, white people easily got mortgages to live in America's nicest areas, while aspiring racial/ethnic home buyers from the inner-city were refused loans from banks and federal programs. That is what is called "redlining." This racially discriminatory mortgage lending practice, which gripped the nation in the 1930s before its ban in the 1960s, created a racial wealth gap and neighborhoods that lacked health-promoting assets, like healthcare, jobs, and transportation options. Even today, three of four neighborhoods “redlined” on government maps 80 years ago continuing to struggle economically, according to a new study, Washington Post reports. “It’s as if some of these places have been trapped in the past, locking neighborhoods into concentrated poverty,” ...

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Is Roadway Air Pollution Slowing Your Child’s Brain Development?


Roadway Air Pollution

Childhood brain development is a sensitive process, and researchers now say air pollution from highways and streets could harm or hinder that progression. Worse, kids who live close to major roadways can face significant adverse effects from the air, according to a recently published study in Environmental Research. The data showed that these children scored lower on communications tests as well as other cognitive functions. This is alarming data for Latinos, who are already exposed to greater levels of air pollution. What Does the Study Show? Researchers collected data from 5,800 children (5.8% Latino) living throughout New York state (19.2% Latino). They excluded New York City (29.1% Latino) from their study group. They began gathering prenatal levels of particulate matter ...

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New York Approves America’s First Congestion Pricing Policy



After more than 10 years of advocacy, New York became the first US state to approve a plan to charge drivers to enter highly trafficked areas during peak times, known as congestion pricing. International metropolitan areas, such as London and Stockholm, have implemented similar fees for over a decade. It took a transportation crisis in midtown Manhattan—where congestion slowed drivers to nearly a walking pace—for elected officials to act on congestion pricing. The fees will go into effect by 2021 and will be dedicated to improving public transit. Hidden Costs The cumulative cost to drive a car is often the second largest household expense—which can be particularly burdensome for Latino families who are burdened by high housing costs and lack of safe, reliable ...

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