The Franklin County Housing Authority board has voted to implement a gradual move that will one day result in smoke free facilities.
The federal agency that oversees local housing authorities, is the Deptartment of Housing and Urban Renewa andHUD has strongly urged housing boards across the nation to become smoke free. At their most recent board meeting, a plan was adopted to implement that gradual progression.
In 2014, the Franklin County Housing Authority begins theprocess toward that goal. They will begin in Christopher, Benton, and West Frankfort simultaneously.
According to Director Monica Stewart, " When one apartment becomes vacant, it will be declared Smoke Free. And, then when adjoining apartments become vacant they too will be declared Smoke Free."
This "domino effect" will expand the number of units that will gradually be free of any smoke.
Tobacco smoke is a significant cancer causing agent. In addition, so-called second hand smoke can also cause health problems to neighboring residents when smoke filters into adjoining apartments.
Also, smoking residue, tar and nicotine, coat walls, drapes, and ceilings of units.
That can manifest itself in something as minor as clean-up problems, to more serious maintenance concerns.
In an effort to help residents cope with new rules, next year, the Housing Authority will be providing outreach in the way of resident education.
In the three designated cities seeing enforcement first, nine apartments that are currently available will be the first designated non-smoking.
As residents are approved to occupy these newly designated apartments, "they will be asked to sign an agreement not to smoke," said Stewart.