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Housing Authority of the County of Berks

Smoke-Free Housing Policy

Effective Date: August 1, 2018

Background

On December 5, 2016, HUD instituted a Smoke-Free Public Housing Final Rule. Smoke Free Final Rule which became effective 02/03/17 (60 days after publication in the FR.) All Public Housing Authorities must be in full compliance by July 30, 2018. The purpose of the rule is to improve indoor air quality in housing, reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, and lower overall maintenance costs. The PHA must design and implement a Smoke-Free Policy prohibiting the use of prohibited tobacco products in all PH living units and interior areas as well as outdoor areas up to 25 ft. from PH and administrative office buildings.

It is the policy of the Housing Authority of the County of Berks that all property owned by BCHA shall be Tobacco Free.  Tobacco and the use of smokeless tobacco is prohibited anywhere on BCHA property. Smoking means inhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, including water pipes (“hookahs”). Smoking also includes the use of an electronic smoking device (“e-cig”) which creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or form, including by use of materials for “vaping”. Any new properties acquired and/or managed by PHA after August 1, 2018 shall be deemed smoke-free and subject to this policy.

The properties below are designated as smoke-free:

  1. Rittenhouse and Warwick Apartments; Boyertown
  2. Brooke Estates and Chestnut Court Apartments; Birdsboro
  3. Jefferson Heights; Laureldale
  4. Northvale Hills Apartments; Womelsdorf
  5. Richard B. Delp Townhouses; Exeter
  6. Laurel Court Apartments; Fleetwood
  7. Cacoosing Meadows; Sinking Springs

This policy applies to all persons including residents, guests, employees, and contractors while on-site at any property owned and operated in conjunction with the Public Housing Program. This policy extends to all property, including but not limited to, all structures and grounds as described below:

  1. Structures include all residential units, hallways, building common areas, entryways, community centers, porches, balconies and patios, rental and administrative offices and buildings, maintenance buildings, laundry centers and storage areas.
  2. Grounds include any exterior area owned by Berks County Housing Authority, including resident yards, grassy areas, playgrounds, interior sidewalks and parking lots, including vehicles parked in parking areas. This policy enacts a campus-wide ban on the prohibited products, as listed below.

Smoking is prohibited on any property owned and operated by Housing Authority of the County of Berks in conjunction with the Public Housing Program. 

Residents who violate this Smoke-Free policy will be considered to be in material non-compliance of the Lease Agreement. Residents are responsible for the behaviors of their guests and minor household members, and as such, shall be considered to be in breach of the Lease Agreement resulting from violations to this policy that are committed by their guests and minor household members.

Enforcement of Smoke-Free Housing Policy

1st Violation – Conduct home visit and issue verbal warning, referencing the Dwelling Lease.

2nd Violation- Written Warning sent to tenant, citing section of Dwelling Lease that has been violated.

3rd Violation- Private conference with tenant held in Management Office and second written warning issued.

4th Violation- Issue Notice to Vacate with Option to Remedy in accordance with State Law.

5th Violation- Issue Notice to Vacate Without Option to Remedy in accordance with State Law

Residents who observe violations of this policy are strongly encouraged to report the incident to the Property Management office, and may remain anonymous in doing so. BCHA is committed to enforcing this policy to the greatest and most reasonable degree possible, and shall adopt strategic methods for education, enforcement and ongoing resident compliance. Equally, BCHA asserts that the adoption of this policy does not make BCHA a guarantor of a smoke-free environment or any resident health-related status associated with the policy.

While this policy does not require residents to quit smoking (but rather, requires that smoking does not occur on agency property as defined above), the agency embraces this opportunity to promote the overall health and wellness of residents by assisting with any desired smoking cessation goals for no less than 24 months following the effective date of this policy. Cessation materials, including access to written materials, counseling and support groups, and nicotine replacement therapies will be available by contacting management at contact@berksha.org.

Also enclosed are cessation resources

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