Muscatine Considers Smoke Free Public Housing - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Muscatine Considers Smoke Free Public Housing

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Work is underway to create a smoke free environment at public apartment complexes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development or "HUD" is recommending all of its facilities go smoke free. In Muscatine, the housing department is being pro-active and supporting HUD's recommendation.

Sunset Park and Clark House are public housing facilities. Their tenants are low income, disabled or elderly. Smoking is allowed in apartments and outside the buildings. However, HUD, the federal agency that owns the complexes, wants that to change.

"They strongly recommend making our facilities smoke free, just for the health of the people that live in the buildings," says Muscatine Housing Specialist Courtney Ferreira.

The Muscatine Public Housing Department is following HUD's recommendation. They've formed a committee, made up of residents, managers and the public.

"We're looking at it, as it's not just good enough to put a roof over someone's head," says Muscatine Housing Coordinator Kaitlyn Love, "We want a safe and stable place."

Some tenants support going smoke free, while others do not. We spoke with a resident who says going outside to smoke isn't fair, because she is elderly and disabled.

"Some tenants that smoke feel their rights are being violated a little bit," says Chad Yocom, a Muscatine Housing Specialist.

Another reason the city is considering making public housing smoke free is because of cleanliness.

"When somebody smokes we may have to repaint the entire unit and we may have to get the carpets steam cleaned," adds Yocom, "It takes a long time to get the apartment turned over and it may cost a few more dollars to repair the unit also."

The city is working on the smoke free policy and figuring out designated smoking areas. They say the main motivator is they want to put people's health first.

"There are the people who maybe have a lot of health problems or can have a higher risk for health problems," adds Ferreira, "We need to have buildings as clean as we can be."

If the city approves the policy, it will go into effect by the end of the summer.

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