Bill taking needed line vs. domestic violence

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence commends the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for unanimously passing House Bill 1796, sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), which eliminates so-called local nuisance ordinances that threaten to evict victims of domestic violence from their homes if they call the police multiple times.

No one in Pennsylvania should ever have to choose between taking a beating or having a roof overhead.

At least 19 Pennsylvania communities – including Pittsburgh, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre and York – have adopted policies that require landlords to evict an individual deemed a nuisance if police are called to the residence on multiple occasions (usually three times in a 12-month period).

Landlords who do not evict “nuisance” tenants face fines and penalties, such as revocation of their rental license. In addition, at least 59 other U.S. municipalities have adopted similar laws.

PCADV, the oldest statewide domestic violence coalition in the nation, has been on the front lines of helping domestic violence victims find safety and shelter. The dedicated and hard-working staff at our 60 shelters around the state understand the chilling effect nuisance ordinances can have on victims of domestic violence.

PCADV has been working closely with Stephens to ensure the bill considers the complex nature of domestic violence.

Stephens has proven to be a true champion for victims who are faced with difficult choices when they need help the most.

PCADV will continue to mobilize our network of 60 community-based domestic violence programs in support of this legislation that is critical to the safety of victims and their children across the commonwealth.

As the bill moves to the state Senate for consideration, PCADV urges our senators to agree that no victim should ever be forced to make the impossible choice between seeking help or potential homelessness.

Peg J. Dierkers, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence