HUD, HHS and health groups announce new smoke-free housing tools
WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and heath advocates today launched a new set of tools to encourage and guide private owners of federally assisted multifamily housing and public housing authorities to adopt smoke-free policies to protect residents from the dangers of second-hand smoke and to reduce property maintenance costs.
During a news conference recently, the agencies were joined by the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics as they unveiled the toolkits HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) developed with the partnering agencies. These kits provide housing owners/managers and residents with user-friendly information related to the adoption of smoke-free housing policies.
"A healthy home is a smoke-free home," said Jon Gant, Director of HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. "If we're serious about promoting healthy living conditions in federally assisted housing, then we have to get serious about promoting smoke-free housing. HUD is pleased to join hands with our partners in this important effort to create a healthy home environment for families and their children."
HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez added: "HUD is working hard to promote health and prevent disease by encouraging public housing agencies, multifamily owners and agents, as well as residents, to work with their local public health and medical communities to adopt smoke-free housing policies. We want to provide them with resources as we work together to create healthy homes."
The new Smoke-Free Housing Toolkits can be used by residents, multifamily housing managers/owners, including public housing authorities, to promote healthier housing. The owner's toolkit includes HUD's guidance to public housing authorities and multifamily housing owners/managers, such as: a guide to implementing no-smoking policies, a sample resident survey, frequently asked questions, and other useful resources. The residents' kit includes a going smoke-free guide, a home smoke-free pledge kit, and additional education materials about second-hand smoke.
Additionally, the new toolkits advise private landlords and public housing authorities to:
- Advertise units as non-smoking to attract tenants who either don't smoke or only smoke outside;
- Talk to prospective tenants about their smoke-free policy when showing the property;
- Include no-smoking policies in lease agreements and read through the rule with tenants as they sign their lease;
- Display no-smoking signage in buildings and on the property;
- Consider partnering with organizations to offer smoking cessation support to residents;
- Inform tenants that if they smoke in their units, they will be financially responsible for the costs of restoring the unit;
- Use the same warning/enforcement methods for smoke-free rule violations used for any other lease infractions; and
- Visit and inspect properties regularly.
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