Committee Endorses Plan to Help Relocate Domestic Violence Victims

HARRISBURG – The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee approved a bipartisan bill today that would allow domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated to another unit.

Senate Bill 919, sponsored by Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46), Art Haywood (D-4) and Judy Schwank (D-11), allows a county housing authority to relocate a domestic violence victim to another apartment under the authority’s control or in another county housing authority, or refer the victim to local advocacy organizations for housing assistance.

“Many victims living in public housing feel trapped by their circumstances. They should not have to live in a constant state of fear from abusers who still threaten their safety,” Bartolotta said. “County authorities currently do not have the authority to protect victims. This bill gives them a way to better protect vulnerable community residents.” 

Tenants would be required to certify to a housing authority that they are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The county housing authority would have five days to approve a request for relocation and would be prohibited from releasing the new address of the tenant or other information about their relocation without a court order.

“Last year, more than 100 Pennsylvanians were killed by domestic violence. It is clear that, too often, victims cannot escape their abusers,” Haywood said. “This bill will give those within the public housing system much-needed recourse.”

“Assault victims should never have to move to be safe, but the reality is that sometimes they must to protect their families,” Schwank said. “It’s not easy to relocate, and can be especially difficult if you’re in subsidized housing. This bill will make sure that when victims need to relocate, they are able to do so.”

The bill was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463