U.S. public housing, long plagued by crime, drugs, rats and roaches, is going smoke-free. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says today it will ban smoking at all federally subsidized homes.
“We have a responsibility to protect public housing residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the elderly and children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement. “This proposed rule will help improve the health of more than 760,000 children and help public housing agencies save $153 million every year in healthcare, repairs and preventable fires.”
Private landlords, such as The Quaye in Palm Beach Gardens, have begun to ban smoking indoors and out. Considering HUD’s challenges with crime and drugs, skeptics wonder if a smoking ban is realistic.
“It’s a fraught process, because to do it properly you need community buy-in,” Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, told the New York Times. “To do this successfully, it can’t be a top-down edict, because you want people to comply with the policy.”