Homeport 'Smoke Free' Initiative Tops In Ohio

Joyce Johnson of The Breathing Association addresses Elim Manor seniors

Joyce Johnson of The Breathing Association addresses Elim Manor seniors

Homeport has gone “platinum.”

In recognition of its “smoke-free” policy at rental apartments and homes, Homeport has received the top award from the Ohio Department of Health’s tobacco prevention program.

“It is really good that you have created a comprehensive policy that protects all the residents,” said Mandy Burkett, Director of the Tobacco Program within the ODH’s Bureau of Health Promotion.

Homeport and four other housing entities in Ohio received the platinum or top award this spring. ODH also selects, gold, silver and bronze level recipients.

The “Platinum Honor” is provided by ODH to a property owner, company/public entity or non-profit organization with a written smoke-free policy. The key ingredients:

·       -- No “grandfathering clauses.”

·       -- Prohibiting smoking in all units in a building or the grounds of the building.

·       -- No designated smoking areas.

·       -- No smoking in vehicles in the parking lots or garages.

·       -- No smoking by guests, employees or vendors. 

Homeport set in motion its “smoke free” policies in the fall of 2014 and today has approximately 500 apartment units and single-family home under the rules.

Brenda Moncrief

Brenda Moncrief

“It’s an honor and makes me want to work harder to get the rest of our properties turned over to ‘smoke free,’” said Brenda Moncrief, Homeport’s point person on the smoke free initiative.

“Our initiative is grounded in our desire of creating healthy, stable communities for our residents – from seniors to children,” said Bruce Luecke, Homeport’s Interim President and CEO. “Homeport’s Asset Management team has worked hard to take this from concept to reality.”

ODH’s Burkett said the parameters established by Homeport are important because individuals smoking in their apartments can adversely affect others even when doors are closed. 

“We know second hand smoke can be shared through cracks in the wall, vents,” said Burkett.

“It is particularly bad for children and can result in upper respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks. It increases the risks for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” she said.

Adults affected by second hand smoke can suffer strokes, nasal irritations, lung cancer, heart disease and reproductive problems, Burkett said.

On May 1, residents of Homeport’s 120-unit Georges Creek apartments in Canal Winchester were told that the policy applied to them and that they had 90 days to comply.

Previous communities to fall into the smoke free rules include Trabue Crossing, Eastway Village and Eastway Court, Elim Court and Elim Manor, and Fieldstone Court. More recent additions include Victorian Heritage and Hilltop Homes II.

Homeport has a three-violations-and-you’re-out no smoking policy, and makes available outside agencies such as The Breathing Association for residents who wish to stop smoking. Only two families have chosen to leave Homeport communities rather than face eviction since the start of the policy.