Feds propose ban on smoking in public housing - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Feds propose ban on smoking in public housing

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new proposal to ban smoking in public housing is raising concerns. 

Long-time smoker Kathy Lee, a City View resident, believes the Department of Housing and Urban Development is going too far. "I think it's wrong for you to be able to pay your rent and then they be able to tell you what you do on the inside," said Lee.

While she admits smoking is a pretty bad habit, Lee said HUD’s plan to ban smoking at all public housing within the next two years doesn't sit well with her. “I think it's wrong”, Lee added. “You know people pay their rent and whatever goes on, on the inside, should be left up to them how they want to conduct their business."

HUD notified all of its agencies, including Louisville Metro Housing Authority in a 27-page-proposal Thursday.

"It all goes back to the health consequences," Director Tim Barry is studying the details, but said his agency has been moving in that direction for months. Shepherd Square on Clay Street is already smoke-free. The only difference Barry said is the people who live there knew when they moved in.

"We're about to adopt a policy that will be out for public comment next week that says if the smoker vacates the unit that that unit will then become non-smoking and people who move in have to sign a lease addendum saying they will not smoke in the unit," Barry explained.

Under the federal plan residents, would not be able to smoke in their apartments, common areas or within 25 feet of their own buildings, said Barry. "You have to look at the impact this has on your neighbor, and your neighbor's children, and it's clear the science has proved that cigarette smoke is harmful," Barry explained.

Sarah Sorrell lives at Beecher Terrace and says she does not have a problem with the plan. "It's probably a good idea but it would be hard," Sorrell admit.

But a lot of residents wonder how the Housing Authority will enforce the ban. Barry admits it’s not going to be easy. "We'd rather just educate and encourage and provide people with assistance than have to do any kind of evictions."

Housing authorities have 60 days to review the proposal and provide feedback. Residents will also have an opportunity to weigh in on the plan. HUD will come up with a final plan next year. Agencies will then have 18 months to implement it. 

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