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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 14, 2017 10:20 AM
From: Senator Art Haywood and Sen. Camera Bartolotta, Sen. Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Relocation for Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims in Public Housing
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation amending the Housing Authorities Law to allow a victim of domestic or sexual violence to be relocated.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this legislation is an effort to combat domestic and sexual violence in the Commonwealth. This bill was developed with input from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, and the Pennsylvania Housing Alliance.

Our bill allows a tenant of a county housing authority who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence to be relocated to another apartment under the control of the county housing authority or in another county housing authority, or otherwise receive help finding housing or receive a referral to local victim advocacy organizations for housing assistance. Tenants would be required to certify to a housing authority that they are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. A tenant may be eligible to receive assistance whether the domestic or sexual violence occurred in the housing unit or whether the tenant otherwise reasonably believes he or she is threatened with imminent harm from violence if the tenant remains in the unit. The county housing authority would have five days to approve a request for relocation. Then it would have 30 days to relocate the individual and other members of their household, give the tenant a Housing Choice Voucher, or refer the tenant to victim assistance organizations. The county housing authority would be prohibited, absent a court order, from releasing the new address of the tenant or other information about their relocation.

Domestic and sexual violence is an ongoing plague in our communities. Last year, the 60 community centers providing services throughout the Commonwealth assisted almost 90,000 victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Please join us in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB919