Andy Nowicki and his wife, both 90 years old, have called their apartment in Newington, Connecticut their home. However, they were informed by their landlord that they are booted out of their place due to Mr. Nowicki’s habit of smoking in non-designated smoking areas.
This World War II veteran picked up his habit of smoking during the war. Then, he enjoying the free cigarettes issued to soldiers who participated in the war. He was not able to break the habit and unfortunately for him, this almost cost him his home.
Mr. Nowicki’s wife, Leona, is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease which has developed into the latest stages. Mr. Nowicki, himself, suffered from leg injuries during the war. His old age also made walking difficult. He uses a motorized wheelchair to be mobile.
His condition makes it very difficult for him to go ten feet away from the building where he can smoke without earning the ire of the authorities or breaking the rules of the apartment complex. So, he chose to smoke in the breezeway of the building.
Mr. Nowicki’s daughter, Janet, became worried over the eviction of her parents saying they have no other place to go. The old couple are living on a small, fixed income and the $714 a month government-subsidized apartment was all they could afford.
State Senator Paul Doyle represented Mr. Nowicki in a settlement with the Housing Authority in-charge of the apartment to come up with a mutual solution to the concerns of both parties.
Doyle said, “Personally, I couldn’t sleep at night evicting a 90-year-old war hero from government-subsidized housing.”
Mr. Nowicki did try to quit smoking before but found his efforts futile. He sought the advice of a doctor, chewed nicotine gums and used patch. Aside from the health risks that his smoking habit posed, Mr. Norwicki also incurred rib injuries weeks ago after getting an accident while returning to his apartment from smoking outside the complex.
Instead of evicting the couple or forcing Mr. Norwicki to quit, the Housing Authority overlooking the apartment complex agreed to let the couple stay. The parties also agreed to make the apartment accessible to handicaps so Mr. Norwicki can move around without any difficulty and smoke in designated smoking areas.
“‘I think today common sense prevailed. This should have happened months ago. This guy is a true American hero,'” Doyle expressed.
Mr. Nowicki earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his valiant contributions to the war as a combat infantryman. He was assigned in Africa, Italy, France and Germany fighting the Nazis. Now, he is facing yet another battle –to stay home.
Doyle further added that it is totally incredible for the Housing Authority to not give Mr. Nowicki this one exception to the rules. Letting him and his wife stay in his apartment is a simple gesture compared to Mr. Nowicki’s sacrifice during World War II.
The smoking ban on the apartment complex was implemented two and a half years ago. Housing Authority Chairman Stephen Karp and Executive Director Melinda Harvey refused to give Mr. Nowicki a break.
Newington Mayor Stephen Woods also found the eviction of grave concern due to its social costs even though the resolution of the case is out of his jurisdiction. He sent the Housing Authority a letter requesting them to seek other ways to solve the issue without throwing out the World War Vet out of his apartment.
“I fully agree that you shouldn’t smoke, but the man is 90 years old. There’s got to be some way to compromise so that he won’t have to leave the home where he’s been for 20 years. Every issue isn’t black and white,” expressed Woods.
‘We were happy to accommodate him to make the apartment more handicapped accessible,’ lawyer Elliot Lane said after finally reaching an agreement with the other party.
Based on a story in the dailymail.co.uk