YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Smoking bans could go into effect for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) residential living units. The guidelines haven’t been formally approved yet, but they are already causing some concern.
It is not unusual to see residents of the Gutknecht Towers in Youngstown outside catching a smoke, so long as they’re away from the front doors. Gutknecht is one of ten housing properties in the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority (YMHA) that allow residents to smoke in their units. Smoking is not permitted in hallways, lobbies or within 30 feet of any entrance. That could all change because HUD is looking to ban all smoking anywhere in public housing.
“I think it would be absolutely wrong. If you are in an apartment, you should be able to do what you want to do,” said Robert Edmunds, Gutknecht resident.
Jayne Cating said she isn’t a fan of tobacco but said the new rules are too restricting.
“This is getting a little bit too much over the top,” Cating said.
Although the changes are still in the proposal stage, YMHA directors have been meeting with residents for months since the housing authority in Toledo went smoke-free a couple of years ago.
Director Carmelita Douglas believes the possible changes are meant to benefit all residents, especially the elderly and children.
“Of course, the smokers don’t feel that it’s such a good idea,” Douglas said. “It’s a catch 22 situation one way or the other. But as a housing authority, we will comply with HUD’s final decision.”
If the changes are approved, directors would then have eighteen months to get them in place.