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North Platte public housing units to go smoke-free

August 2, 2018

Come October, all of the North Platte Housing Authority’s units will be completely smoke-free.

Residents living in public housing who smoke will be required to do so 25 feet from their homes. The policy will take effect after a mandate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has required all public housing to be completely smoke-free as of July 31.

“They’ve always had a smoke-free policy here at Autumn Park,” said Seanna Collins, executive director of the housing authority. Its office is located at the low-income apartment complex on Autumn Park Drive.

Autumn Park became smoke-free in 2012, according to a Telegraph story published in March 2012. The original mandate required residents in Autumn Park’s 100 units to smoke 15 feet from their homes, Collins said.

She added that she sent out notices to residents in the housing authority’s other 150 units, which are “scattered” across the community.

The housing authority board must first collect written comments from residents before it votes on the official mandate at its Aug. 27 meeting, Collins said.

However, with smoke-free homes now a federal mandate, board members will have little choice but to vote in favor of the policy, Collins said.

“Their hands are a little bit tied,” she said.

Residents who live in public housing have until Aug. 17 to submit written comments to the board. Collins said the board is “behind the 8-ball” on the federal policy, as she only took over as the housing authority’s leader on June 1.

Former executive director Jennifer Smith was fired after she was arrested on suspicion of multiple felonies, including racketeering, in March. The status of her criminal case in Lincoln County District Court is unclear.

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