Supportive Housing Residences Go Smoke-Free

SHNNY members who worked with us on their efforts to go smoke-free.

Network members who worked with us on their efforts to go smoke-free.

The Coalition is working to help many tenants and building owners adopt voluntary smoke-free housing policies. We are also working with supportive housing providers to help them go smoke-free.

Supportive housing is affordable housing with on-site services for individuals and families facing a variety of challenges, including homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse.  People with mental illness smoke cigarettes at higher rates than those without mental illness and substance abuse. But according to a study, smokers with mental illness are as motivated to quit smoking as the general population.

Sean Robin (DOHMH) and Rachelle Rochelle (Brooklyn Smoke-Free Partnership) worked closely with SHNNY members.

Sean Robin (DOHMH) and Rachelle Rochelle (Brooklyn Smoke-Free Partnership) worked closely with Network members.

Recognizing that smoke-free housing policies can serve as an inspiration to reduce and/or quit smoking, the Coalition and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) partnered with the Supportive Housing Network of New York (The Network) to develop a training program that supportive housing providers could use when educating residents about the benefits of smoke-free housing.

With input from psychologist and trained substance use specialist, Dr. Marlene Reil, the Coalition and DOHMH developed the “Supportive Housing Goes Smoke-Free” series—a yearlong technical assistance program for supportive housing providers interested in going smoke-free at one or more of their residences.

Over the course of a year, we met with the eight Network member organizations that expressed interest in having smoke-free policies in their supportive housing buildings. We then visited staff at the buildings and provided training on how to garner support among residents to adopt a voluntary smoke-free policy.

Award given to all eight supportive housing providers who joined us.

Award given to all eight supportive housing providers who joined us.

The Network member organizations committed to use the “Supportive Housing Goes Smoke-Free” series. We helped tailor smoke-free policies to each residence’s specific needs and explained how best to gain staff and resident buy-in. Senior staff from these organizations met with us every three months as a group so we could share templates, action plans and timelines and solve problems they encountered.

Two buildings in Manhattan implemented fully smoke-free policies – the Ivan Shapiro House (Urban Pathways) and Encore 49 (Encore Community Services). Six other buildings have made great strides in educating their residents and have started cessation groups on site. Many residents now smoke less, and some have quit completely. These buildings are:

  • Harmony Court and Jasmine Court in the Bronx, (Heritage Health and Housing)
  • Los Vecinos Apartments in Manhattan (Bowery Residence Corp.)
  • Jasper Hall in the Bronx (Lantern Community Services)
  • Iyana House in Manhattan (The Bridge)
  • 219 Henry Street in Manhattan (United Jewish Council of the East Side)

We continue to work with these buildings and other Network member organizations to go smoke-free. Smoke-free housing is a healthy choice—every New Yorker has a right to choose to go smoke-free.