EHDA looking at smoke-free policy

Published 9:34 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency (EHDA) is in the process of adopting a policy to coincide with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
EHDA’s Board of Commissioners convened inside the Pine Ridge Circle main office Tuesday morning and went through a rather light agenda before the smoking ban in public housings was brought up for discussion.
HUD recently implemented guidelines for public housing that no smoking will take place inside any tenants home or 25 feet of housing and administrative offices. The ban will officially take place in 2018.
“It’s definitely a work in progress,” Executive Director Kelly Geagley said. “But we definitely want to commend HUD on allowing us the timeline to get this put in place.”
Geagley said the department is going over different policies to enforce to meet the guidelines.
The executive director added in the past, it was optional for a housing agency to make their public housing smoke-free. During that transition, EHDA received input from the citizens still wanting to smoke. Now were the HUD guidelines coming into effect, the department now has to enforce a smoke-free housing policy.
“We’ll follow the rules and guidelines put in place,” Geagley said.
According to HUD, no individual has the “right” to smoke in a rental home and no one is protected subclass under anti-discrimination laws. The department added the nobody will be “grandfathered” under the policy that would be adopted. If a resident were to violate the policy, they would be subject to lease termination.
While adding the transition would be difficult, EHDA will begin to unravel smoking cessation classes for any interested residents. The EHDA newsletter states that more information on classes will be available in the coming months but residents are also encouraged to use the smoke-free quit line by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
As the information gathering process gets underway, Geagley added his staff will look at other policies and speak with other housing departments before implementing a measure. The department is also holding special meetings with residents to discuss policy adoption. The first meeting took place February 22 and featured meetings are still to be determined.
“We want to make sure the residents are updated and know what’s going on,” Geagley said. “We appreciate the effort during this transition. We’re looking at having another meeting around the middle of March.”
In other business, the Board approved a resolution to certify key aspects of section 8 tenant-based assistance program reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox