GAINESVILLE, Fla., Sept. 14, 2016–A safer, smoke-free environment is the norm for residents and employees today at the Gainesville Housing Authority (GHA) and all eight of our public housing properties. The Tobacco Free Alachua community partnership honored the leadership at GHA for leading by example and implementing two policies: A smoke-free housing policy for residents and a tobacco-free worksite policy for staff.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a new rule on December 5, 2016 requiring all public housing units to become smoke-free. Although the new HUD rule was just published, GHA started working on this policy with Tobacco Free Florida over a year ago and launched it October 1, 2016. Millions who live in apartments are exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke on a regular basis. This will no longer be the case in public housing developments thanks to the new HUD rule. GHA worked with Tobacco Free Florida to provide support to residents during and after the transition. “This new policy is a win-win for everyone,” says Pamela Davis, GHA Executive Director, “Our goal is to provide a cleaner and healthier environment for everyone.”
On September 1, 2016, Gainesville Housing Authority became a tobacco-free worksite for employees, one month before implementing our smoke-free policy, to make sure staff led the way and set an example for our residents. Through our partnership with Tobacco Free Florida we have hosted a total of seven 6-week long cessation courses on our properties open to residents and to staff. To make it convenient for staff members Tobacco Free Florida hosted a special two-hour cessation class for staff members only at our administrative office. Those who attended were provided with information on three ways to quit along with free nicotine replacement patches, gum and lozenges.
GHA participated in the Great American Smokeout (GASO) on November 17th. Every year on the third Thursday of November, organizations across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout (GASO) to encourage smokers to use the date to make a plant to quit, or plan in advance to quit smoking on that day.
In collaboration with Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) GHA highlighted its Quit & Tell initiative during GASO, and developed materials to help our employees quit tobacco. With the right help, resources, and support, our employees will have a greater chance to quit for good. GHA printed (GASO) material and display it around our offices and sent out emails with the (GASO) infographic and a link to TFF’s website.
About Gainesville Housing Authority
Since 1966, Gainesville Housing Authority has advocated for and provided affordable housing for eligible individuals and families. GHA works closely with the U.S. Department of HUD, the City of Gainesville, and area agencies and organizations. Our collaborations allow us to provide many services and opportunities to not only our residents, but to the entire community.