Grace Hill Training Tip of the Week
July Smoke-Free Policy Deadline Approaches for PHAs
HUD strongly encourages Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and all multifamily housing owners and agents to implement smoke-free policies in all their properties.
Furthermore, in December of 2016, HUD published a final rule requiring PHAs administering low-income, conventional public housing to implement smoke-free policies. The rule went into effect in February of 2017, but there was an 18-month implementation period, meaning that all PHAs must have a smoke-free policy in place by July 31, 2018. This rule applies to all public housing except dwelling units in mixed-finance buildings.
We covered this a few months ago, but since the deadline is looming, here’s a recap of the rule and helpful resources about implementing a smoke-free policy. The rule says that each PHA must implement a smoke-free policy banning the use of prohibited tobacco products in all living units, indoor common areas, PHA administrative office buildings, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of any building on public housing grounds.
Note that the rule does not prohibit residents of PHAs from smoking. In fact, PHAs can establish outdoor designated smoking areas beyond the required 25 feet perimeter to accommodate residents who smoke. PHAs may also establish additional smoke-free locations, or they can even make their entire grounds smoke-free.
While this rule applies to public housing (except dwelling units in mixed-finance buildings), the materials that HUD has assembled to help PHAs comply with this rule may be very helpful to any community that is thinking about, or in some stage of implementing, a smoke-free policy.
More and more rental properties across the country are adopting smoke-free policies with the goal of improving air quality, reducing the risk of fire, and lowering maintenance costs. If you are one of those properties, here are some great resources HUD has put together to help PHAs implement smoke-free policies that may also be helpful to you:
Implementing HUD’s Smoke-Free Policy in Public Housing includes strategies for communicating with residents, examples of smoke-free policies and enforcement plans, tips for training staff, helpful information for launching a smoke-free policy, and guidance on responding to requests for accommodation.
- Smoke-Free Housing: A Toolkit for Owners/Management Agents of Federally Assisted Public and Multi-family Housing provides fact sheets, brochures, and other resources to help guide PHAs and multifamily owners and property managers through the process of implementing smoke-free policies.
- Change is in the Air: An Action Guide for Establishing Smoke-Free Public Housing and Multifamily Properties among other things addresses how PHAs have approached smoke-free policies for residents with disabilities.
There is more available on the Healthy Homes section of HUD’s website. Take some time to look around – there’s lots of good stuff out there!