HUD SECRETARY ANNOUNCES PUBLIC HOUSING TO BE SMOKE-FREE
WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today announced that public housing developments in the U.S. will now be required to provide a smoke-free environment for their residents. In an address to local public housing officials, residents and public health professionals in Boston, Secretary Castro said HUD’s new rule will provide resources and support to more than 3,100 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to implement required smoke-free policies over the next 18 months. Read HUD’s final rule.
Throughout this year, HUD worked with PHAs and stakeholders collaboratively to finalize this rule, which prohibits lit tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and administrative office buildings. TFW Coalition Coordinator and Leadership Team member, Tara Nolen, attended the White House Convening on HUD’s Proposed Rule for Smoke-Free Public Housing in January of this year, to discuss the proposal with other national stakeholders. HUD’s final rule included input from more than 1,000 comments from PHAs, housing and health partners, and tenant advocates; one of which was submitted on behalf of TFW.
“Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, healthy home free from harmful second-hand cigarette smoke,” said Secretary Castro. “HUD’s smoke-free rule is a reflection of our commitment to using housing as a platform to create healthy communities.”
Since 2009, HUD has strongly encouraged PHAs to adopt smoke-free policies in their buildings and common areas, a policy many private housing developments already have in place. During this time, more than 600 PHAs and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs) have adopted smoke-free policies.Through HUD’s voluntary policy and local initiatives, more than 228,000 public housing units are already smoke-free. Once fully implemented, the smoke-free rule announced today would expand the impact to more than 940,000 public housing units, including more than 500,000 units inhabited by elderly residents and 760,000 children living in public housing.
The City of Wichita Public Housing Authority reported 578 units (352 single-family homes and 226 apartment units), which will be covered by smoke-free housing policies within 18 months. TFW estimates almost 1,000 adults and children will be protected from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke as part of HUD’s new ruling.
PHAs are encouraged to take advantage of the information and resources on HUD’s Healthy Homes website. Updated guidance and training materials will be available in the coming months.