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Sandra P : MI

Picture from Sandra P

I am a 71-year-old senior living on social security in government assisted rental apartment in Oscoda, Michigan. I moved in here in 2013, ten years after my first heart attack (occurring in 2003) in part because I wanted to breathe the fresh air I remembered from my childhood when we came up as a family to visit my grandparents. I was happy for the first year and grateful for my rental assistance. However, in 2014, a renter moved into the apartment upstairs from me whose smoking habit was non-stop, 24/7, and to make matters worse, she is a shut-in. Because her heat vents connected to mine, my apartment was always full of secondhand smoke.

For the past 5 years, I have complained to management about the secondhand smoke to no avail. In May of 2018, the Michigan law went into effect that no one living in multi-family housing was allowed to smoke in their units. I was so happy until I realized that law had to be enforced before I could benefit from it and once again be able to breathe clean air in my own home. No one in management has stepped up to enforce the law. The best management does is say, "if upon inspection, we find you are smoking in your unit, we will write you up (takes 4 write-ups to be evicted) and charge you for services to re-paint and get new curtains! No mention at all about the damage done to human beings.

As I feared, on April 6, 2019, I went into cardiac arrest and had my second heart attack after having lived here for six years (five of which were under severe air pollution caused by unrelenting secondhand smoke. I am home now, my heart has suffered further damage that can never be repaired, and I have asked management to move the person living upstairs out and into another unit so I can have a smoke free unit from now on. Nothing has been done, and I have not gotten any response from management. There appears to be no effort on management's part because they are only concerned with monetary damage from smoking, not the severe damage it does to the human body.

First Published: 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM

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