The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced a rule prohibiting smoking in public housing residences to be put in place in 18 months. The rule covering public housing forbids cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs (or water pipes) — but not electronic cigarettes — from being smoked in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and office buildings. The ruling is expanding the current ban on smoking which covers roughly 228,000 units on the state level. The ruling will extend beyond the state level and be enforceable under the federal guise.
Presently housing agencies have enforced the rulings by placing warning and fining to residents. They have also have had counseling and given smoking patches as a deterrent. Julian Castro, the HUD secretary doesn’t see the rulings as a means for evictions. He says “We don’t see this as a policy that is meant to end in a whole lot of evictions. We’re confident that public-housing authority staff can work with residents so that that can be avoided”.
The impact of the ruling will greatly affect New York in particular. The New York City Housing Authority presently has 178,000 apartments under management and more than 400,000 residents occupying public housing. Nationwide 1.2 million people live in public housing encompassing 940,000 housing units. The ruling in particular addresses second hand smoke affecting children nationwide. Presently 760,000 children living in public housing.
The ruling as stated will go into effect in 18 months but still be overturned by President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Ben Carson has been picked as the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carson is a world renowned neurosurgeon and will now steer the agency with an annual budget of $50 billion and manages a $1.6 trillion mortgage portfolio.