Increasingly, the long-term, harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoke on vulnerable populations particularly the elderly, have gained significant attention. To address this health problem, in July 2018 FH initiated a smoke-free policy in all properties.FH realized the significant benefits that can result from adopting smoke-free environments for both employees and our 1,500 residents.The plan involved changing the rules regarding smoking and designating no smoking areas, to include, but not limited to all apartment units, common areas, offices elevators, hallways, bathrooms, entry ways, porches, balconies, patios, parking lots and recreational areas. FH provided residents and employees with smoking cessation resources, educational materials and provided smoking policies and house rules in English, Russian, Spanish and Albanian. Throughout the summer and fall of 2018, employee training workshops were convened lead by Chris Gulotta, of the Gulotta group (a professional development training company for housing professionals) and Muna Tefferi, Program & Policy Analyst from the Philadelphia Department of Health. Additionally, resident meetings and information sessions were held. Resident notification for the new policy began in October 1, 2018 with the smoke-free policy becoming effective on December 1, 2018.
To assist FH with the $2,156 financial cost of transitioning our communities to smoke-free properties, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in partnership with the Clean Air Council of Philadelphia, offered $2,000 mini-grants for qualified multi-unit housing landlords and property managers that were adopting adopt smoke-free policies. In January 2019, FH was selected to receive one of only 8 grants awarded to qualifying applicants.
We are now pleased to announce that FH has made a seamless transition to a non-smoking community.We continue to strive towards providing healthy, quality housing communities and environments for our low-income seniors and our employees.