FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/6/2016
Denver, CO—As part of its efforts to create healthy communities, affordable housing nonprofit Mercy Housing, Inc. has instituted a nonsmoking policy at many of the properties it owns and manages nationwide. The organization aims to have the majority of its portfolio smoke-free by 2020.
Residents will not be required to quit smoking, but smoking will not be allowed on the properties. Resident Service Coordinators will help connect residents who wish to quit smoking to resources that can help them.
“Through our non-smoking policy on all Mercy Housing properties, we hope to create healthy living and working environments for both residents and staff,” said Cheryll O’Bryan, President of Mercy Housing Management Group.
Instituting a non-smoking policy will not only help protect nonsmoking residents and staff, it will also make them safer; the fires caused by smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths, a report by the National Fire Protection Association found. The policy will also reduce turnover costs; a recent study found that turning over an apartment that has housed a heavy smoker can be six times as expensive as turning over a smoke free apartment.
The announcement comes as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reviews a proposal to ban smoking in all public housing nationwide in order to “improve indoor air quality in public housing, benefit of the health of public housing residents and…staff, reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, and lower overall maintenance costs.”
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the US, causing more than 480,000 deaths per year, or 1 in 5 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About Mercy Housing, Inc.
Mercy Housing is one of the nation’s largest affordable housing nonprofits. Established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1981, Mercy Housing has more than 30 years’ experience developing, preserving, managing, and financing affordable, program-enriched housing. The Founding Communities of Mercy Housing include eight congregations of Catholic Women Religious across the country. Mercy Housing’s subsidiaries further the organization’s mission: Mercy Housing Management Group offers professional property management and Mercy Loan Fund finances nonprofit organizations.
Serving tens of thousands of people with low incomes in 41 states, Mercy Housing works with families, seniors, veterans, and people with special needs in order to build a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy, and all people can develop their full potential. To learn more about Mercy Housing and the services it provides, visit www.mercyhousing.org.