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The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso Quits Smoking

HACEP Presented Paso del Norte's Valor Award

EL PASO, Texas, Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The Smoke-Free Paso Del Norte coalition presented their annual Chester L. Bryant Valor Award to the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) for being a champion of health and wellness in their public housing communities.  In January 2015, HACEP joined a handful of housing authorities across the country when they rolled out a smoke-free policy which will eradicate smoking from all their resident living and common areas. In early November, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) came out in support of a ban on lit tobacco products — cigarettes, cigars and pipes — from all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and anywhere outdoors within 25 feet of housing and administrative buildings. HACEP recognized early on, though, the intrinsic health, safety and financial benefits of this now proposed HUD rule.  The benefits are even more pronounced as HACEP rehabilitates their entire housing portfolio through the HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative. 

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151208/294461

Done in collaboration with the University of Texas at El Paso School of Nursing (UTEP), a survey of 1,422 of HACEP's public housing residents was conducted to examine their attitudes regarding smoking in their environment. The study revealed that almost half of the residents could smell secondhand smoke in their units and 87% worried about the effects of second hand smoke.  Eighty percent of HACEP residents fully supported living in a smoke free community.

"Dr. Holly Mata and her team at UTEP gave our residents a platform and they told us that they would like their buildings to be smoke-free," said Ms. Donna Clarke, Chief Operating Officer, accepting the award for HACEP.   "We welcome these public-private partnerships that push us to think and do beyond what the federal regulations require and help us build and maintain healthy communities for our residents," said Clarke.

To ensure success of the rollout of the policy, the partnership between the UTEP and HACEP Public Housing Resident Services teams also provided smoking cessation education and program referrals to the residents.

The implementation of the smoke-free policy will occur in phases. All properties that are part of the RAD Phase I are subject to the smoke-free policy as residents sign a new lease following the renovation and/or conversion of their community through the RAD initiative. The policy will then be applied to the balance of public housing communities following revisions to HACEP's public housing administrative plan.

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) manages the 14th largest public housing portfolio in the United States and is the 4th largest housing authority in the state of Texas. HACEP provides high-quality housing assistance to 40,000 low income El Pasoans through its Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Tax Credit, Non-Subsidized and Section 8 New Construction programs. HACEP operates a $91 million annual budget and is regulated and primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program is a new voluntary program authorized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address the demanding capital improvement funding needs for public housing authorities across the United States. For more information, please visit www.hud.gov/rad.

Media Contact: Oscar Arriaga, Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, (915) 849-3640, [email protected]

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SOURCE The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP)

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