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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: February 23, 2024 01:32 PM
From: Representative Lindsay Powell and Rep. Shelby Labs
To: All House members
Subject: Increasing Housing Protections for Victims of Violence
After a violent crime, victims and their loved ones often need to relocate in order to get to safety and recover from trauma. Staying in the home may increase the risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and expose victims to further violence. A national survey from the Alliance for Safety and Justice found that nearly 1 in 3 victims of violent crime would have wanted to receive emergency or temporary housing following their victimization, but never received it, and nearly half of violent crime survivors who wanted to relocate were unable to.
In 2018, the General Assembly approved Act 148, which provided protection to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors who are tenants of a county housing authority and need to relocate. Under the existing law, eligible tenants may request relocation, and the local housing authority will provide one of the following to tenants who are eligible victims: 1) relocation to another unit; 2) a housing choice voucher; 3) assistance with identifying other housing providers which may have safe and available units; 4) assistance contacting local organizations that offer assistance to victims. 
To build on the success of Act 148, we will be introducing legislation to extend these protections to victims of other types of violent crimes and increase the amount of time a victim can request relocation assistance from 90-days to 180-days from the date the crime occurred. Our legislation will also ensure that survivors can use the same forms of documentation that are permissible under federal law to verify their need for relocation.  
This legislation will protect more tenants and ensure that Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable low-income survivors receive the support they need to remain safely housed following a crime. We hope that you will join us in supporting this legislation to provide further protections for survivors of violent crimes.

Introduced as HB2162