HRA homes, apartments go smoke-free

Published 11:00 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Austin public housing units are likely going smoke-free come Jan. 1, 2012.

Housing Redevelopment and Authority (HRA) Executive Director Jim Hurm said the proposed change is coming at the prompting of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Housing authorities all over are changing to smoke-free,” Hurm said.

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HRA building managers sent a letter to tenants last week to inform them of the proposed change. Twin Towers, Pickett Place and individual HRA homes throughout the community are all implementing the policy, Hurm said.

The proposed lease addendum issued by the HRA states tenants and their guests may only smoke by designated smoking receptacles located outside the buildings. The policy will go into effect Jan. 1 if passed, but tenants are able to smoke in HRA housing units until that date.

The HRA is taking written comments until Oct. 1 from tenants with questions or concerns. Hurm said the HRA Board of Commission-ers will take final action on the proposal once the tenant comment period is over.

A final vote on the smoking ban, among other small lease changes, should come by November, Hurm said.