Bill that helps relocate domestic violence victims heads to Senate

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee approved a proposal Wednesday that would allow domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated to another unit.

The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46), Art Haywood (D-4) and Judy Schwank (D-11).

“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.”

In the proposed legislation, the county housing authority would have five days to approve the relocation request. The authority would be prohibited from releasing the new address of the tenant, the official release says.

“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.