Did you know that since 1964, the number of adults who smoke in the U.S. has dropped by half? However, there is still work to be done to eradicate smoking and stop the effects it has on the health of many Americans – people who smoke and people who breathe the smoke that other people release. Fifty years after the release of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, remarkable progress has been made. Unfortunately, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States.
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled “The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General.” The report highlights major accomplishments in tobacco prevention and control over the past 50 years, presents new data on the health consequences of smoking, and discusses approaches that can potentially end the tobacco epidemic.
Reflecting on 50 Years of Progress
The landmark report that the Surgeon General in 1964 released laid the foundation for modern tobacco control efforts. Through the efforts of tobacco control professionals, advocates, and researchers, the work has continued to move forward. Learn about the progress of tobacco control in the 50th Anniversary on Smoking and Health Video and Podcast series, featuring interviews from key leaders in the fight against tobacco, and through CDC Tobacco Free on Twitter. Continue reading
Last week, as we reflected on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, President Obama reminded us of the need to build Ladders of Opportunity for those that are working to get into the middle class. In a country as great as this one, a child’s zip code should never be what determines his or her opportunity. The government can’t fix this on its own, but it can be a much better partner in helping local leaders develop policies that improve education, protect the most vulnerable, and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.
As part of this effort, the Administration is supporting a number of initiatives to help promote good work by local governments and create economic opportunity for those who need it most.
For example, last week, President Obama announced the first five Promise Zones; these five areas have put forward comprehensive strategies to improve economic and educational opportunities in their communities, and the federal government is helping them access resources and working as a partner to support them in achieving those goals. Continue reading
Welcome to another edition of our blog series, A Day in the Life, which will introduce you to HUD employees and the highlight the important work they do.
Today, we meet Robyn Bowen who serves as an Economist in the Economic and Market Analysis Division, Atlanta regional office.
What is your typical day like?
My typical day consists of research, analysis, or writing. On some days, I am immersed in intense research activities which entail gathering economic and housing data for a housing market report or an application review for HUD’s multifamily mortgage insurance programs. Assembling the data necessary to perform our market analyses takes a great deal of effort and time, so I could spend many days doing research. After the research process is done, I analyze the data. Like the research phase, analyzing data is intense, and I spend several days studying and reconciling the data to assess current market conditions and estimate future housing demand. Other days are spent writing a report or memorandum that ultimately details my findings.
What is the overarching task of your position?
The overarching task of my position is to produce market analyses and reports that help the Department in its efforts to maintain stable housing markets, promote affordable housing, and avoid adverse impact on existing supplies. As a Field Economist, I collect and maintain data on demographic, economic and housing market conditions, conduct comprehensive housing market analyses for publication, prepare regional summaries of housing market conditions and local housing market profiles for publication in U.S. Housing Market Conditions reports, contribute to the Regional Scorecard, conduct special studies, fulfill data requests, and review new construction and substantial rehabilitation applications submitted under HUD’s multifamily mortgage insurance programs. Continue reading
Whether you just bought a home or have owned one for a while, you’re probably looking forward to the mortgage interest deduction you claim when you file your annual income taxes. But what happens when you go to file your return and you discover they’re already filed?
You may be a victim of refund fraud. The Federal Trade Commission is designating January 13-17 as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to claim YOUR refund or to secure a job.
Stopping refund fraud related to identity theft is a top priority for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They have trained more than 35,000 employees who work with taxpayers who can encounter identity theft involving their tax returns in several ways including helping to identify thieves filing fraudulent returns using another person’s stolen identity. Innocent taxpayers are victimized because their refunds are delayed. Continue reading
January is National Radon Action Month. So, what is radon, you ask? Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is the result of the natural breakdown of uranium in the earth. It seeps into our homes through cracks or permeable materials in our foundations. Radon exists in every state in the country and is estimated to affect as many as 1 in 15 homes and causes approximately 21,000 deaths per year from radon induced lung cancer. Since you can’t see or smell it, the only way to find out if your home has radon is to test, which is easy and inexpensive; test kits can be purchased at your local hardware store. If your house has a radon problem, it can be fixed, which reduces the risk of lung cancer for you and your family. Take action today and encourage your friends and family to do the same!
With HUD’s reach and influence in our nation’s housing, we can play a big role in radon awareness and prevention. In 2013, HUD issued the Office of Multifamily Development Radon Policy. The policy requires radon testing and mitigation for participants in a significant portion of HUD’s multifamily housing mortgage insurance programs and also requires new multifamily construction to be built using radon resistant construction. The Office of Public Housing also issued an Informational Notice on Radon which strongly encourages Public Housing Authorities to proactively plan and complete radon testing and follow-up with mitigation strategies.
For more information, click here – RADON, also visit EPA for more information on National Radon Acton Month – www.epa.gov/radon
Abby is a Healthy Homes Representative in the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control at HUD’s Denver regional office.