Hadley’s public housing will soon go smoke-free

Staff Writer
Thursday, October 19, 2017

HADLEY — Hadley’s two public housing properties are likely to go smoke-free by next summer with assistance from the Hampshire Franklin Tobacco Free Community Partnership.

Housing Authority Executive Director Mary Billion said Oct. 11 that she is tentatively looking at dates in June for beginning the prohibition of on-site smoking at both Golden Court and Burke Way.

Billion said she has already informed the senior citizens and disabled individuals who live at the 40-unit Golden Court and the families who live at the 12-home Burke Way that a smoking ban is likely.

“If a new tenant comes in we explain to them we are working with the Tobacco Free Partnership,” Billion said.

Currently, the properties have no policies related to smoking, meaning that residents are free to smoke inside their homes and anywhere on-site. Billion said she isn’t sure how many residents at the properties smoke, but she has spoken to some who do and invited them to a meeting of the Hadley Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners to be held sometime in November.

This will give staff, board members and representatives from the partnership time to explain how smoke-free policies will work and be adapted to Hadley’s needs. She added that Hadley is not being forced to make this change.

Melinda Calianos, director of the partnership, said in an email that her agency, part of the Hampshire Council of Governments, will provide advice in the coming months for ways to improve public health.

“When and if Hadley Housing Authority decides to become smoke-free, Tobacco Free Community Partnership will be available to the board, administration and tenants for support,” Calianos said.

Billion said she is confident that the measure will be successful, praising the partnership’s efforts that recently led South Hadley’s public housing stock going smoke free.