GUARDIAN MANAGEMENT, LLC, a Portland, Ore.-based real estate investment and management firm, has adopted a no-smoking policy at about 8,000 conventional and affordable housing units across the West. The majority of the units, 6,500, are in Oregon. The new policy applies to new residents, starting Sept. 1.

Existing residents will be exempt until Jan. 1, 2008, when all apartments at the properties will become smoke-free. The policy prohibits smoking inside apartments and common areas as well as within 25 feet of any building on the properties.

“We have successfully implemented no-smoking policies in several of our new properties, and we have found that residents appreciate the amenity,” said Tom Brenneke, owner and president of Guardian Management. “In addition to the health benefits of a smoke-free environment, we can provide residents with cleaner, better-maintained units, and a reduced fire risk.”

A 2006 survey commissioned by the American Lung Association of Oregon, the Multnomah County Health Department in Oregon, the Clark County Health Department in Washington, and partner agencies found that a majority of renters prefer nonsmoking dwellings, and more than half would be willing to pay more in rent to live in a smoke-free environment.

Housing’s Link to Health and Education

AFFORDABLE HOUSING means more than shelter. It serves a vital role in health and educational achievement, according to the first-ever comprehensive look at related research issued by Enterprise Community Partners and the Center for Housing Policy.

“It is impressive just how many different ways that housing is essential to these other disciplines,” said Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy.

The research shows how affordable housing can help address the nation’s health and educational challenges, he said.

For example, studies have found that children in low-income families that do not receive housing subsidies are more likely to suffer from iron deficiencies, malnutrition, and underdevelopment than children in families that receive housing assistance.

Research also shows that housing stability is instrumental in helping children perform better in school. One study found that children in families that receive Sec. 8 housing vouchers live in better neighborhoods and are less likely to move frequently and to miss school.

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Inclusionary Zoning Catches On in California

MORE THAN 80,000 Californians live in housing produced through inclusionary housing programs, according to a report by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, which shows that 170 jurisdictions in California—32 percent of cities and counties—have inclusionary zoning policies. In 2003, just 107 jurisdictions reported such policies.

The California Coalition for Rural Housing, the Sacramento Housing Alliance, and the San Diego Housing Federation co-authored Affordable By Choice: Trends in California Inclusionary Housing Programs.

The report examines the characteristics of eight top-producing cities with inclusionary housing.

Ultimately, the report makes five recommendations, including that all cities and counties adopt a mandatory inclusionary housing policy. It also recommends that cities and counties offer strong incentives and flexibility so the requirements are feasible to developers.

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