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Public Housing Domestic Violence Victims Get Help Through New Law

/ WDAC

HARRISBURG – Domestic violence victims living in public housing can be trapped in their homes with their abuser, because they cannot afford to leave or are tied to a housing contract. Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation into law that 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 receive help finding housing or receive a referral to local victim advocacy organizations for housing assistance. Berks County Sen. Judy Schwank says this law may be the only way to help abuse victims who live in public housing. 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.

SEN. JUDY SCHWANK

 

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