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04/19/2024 09:49 PM
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 6, 2022 01:20 PM
From: Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Public Housing Reform
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation to reform outdated and dangerous policies and practices within public housing.
In October, the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee held a hearing in the City of Johnstown to examine the current public housing situation. Testimony elicited showed a marked rise in the transient population dramatically affecting our schools, social services, and law enforcement. Additionally, there exists an inverse relationship with our population loss and increased public housing.
Individuals are circumventing the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s wait list by “claiming” residency in Johnstown, obtaining vouchers, staying for a few months and leaving, opening the door for more individuals to game the system.
This is putting a significant strain on social services, educators, and law enforcement in our communities. My legislation will not infringe on federal law and will use the powers that the federal government has given to the states and local housing authorities to ensure safety.
This legislation will establish Public Housing Safety Committees within each Public Housing Authority to properly vet individuals with a recent criminal record to determine if they present a threat to the health and safety of the community. This will require Public Housing Authorities to deny admission if there is a preponderance of evidence that any household member engages or has engaged within a reasonable time in drug related activity, violent criminal activity, other criminal activity that threatens the health and safety of the residents, owner and staff.  The same standard would apply in regard to evictions.
This legislation will also require Public Housing Authorities to share background checks of prospective tenants to landlords prior to the landlord accepting the tenant under the Section 8 Voucher Program. Currently, landlords have no idea if the prospective tenant has a criminal record.
The current practices of Public Housing Authorities are placing our residents at risk and driving lawlessness from Philadelphia to our communities. We must protect law-abiding citizens in need of public housing.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB98