FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2023
Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Victims
Key Component in Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) applauds and supports House Bill 1441, introduced by state Representative Lisa Boroski, which seeks to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act by providing protections for domestic violence victims.
"Fair housing laws were put into place to prevent discrimination as well as to address segregation and foster inclusive communities, which is known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. In Pennsylvania, there are many barriers that must be addressed to enable quality housing opportunities in keeping with the intent of fair housing," shares PHRC Executive Director Chad D. Lassiter, MSW.
Several of these issues were highlighted in PHRC's "State of Fair Housing in the Commonwealth of PA" white paper, published in April 2023.
"PHRC's white paper was a call to action to examine the effectiveness of Pennsylvanian's housing protections and provide recommendations on what the commonwealth should do to ensure housing justice for all. Amending the Landlord and Tenant Act to provide protections for domestic violence victims aligns with our recommendations and I am happy to see state legislators taking action to ensure fair housing," said PHRC Director of Enforcement, Adrian Garcia.
According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Pennsylvania.
"Victims of domestic violence often risk their housing by contacting law enforcement and/or leaving their abuser. They often experience homelessness and housing insecurity because of their efforts to protect themselves and their children," shares PHRC Director of Policy & Intergovernmental Affairs, Ashley Walkowiak.
To ensure fair and equitable housing opportunities and establish housing protections for victims of domestic violence, PHRC supports the proposed amendments under House Bill 1441 to the PA Landlord and Tenant Act.
The proposed amendments, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, will help Pennsylvania take steps toward Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, not only fulfilling a federal mandate but also fulfilling the vision of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. PHRC, the state's leading civil rights enforcement agency, urges anyone who has experienced acts of discrimination or hate to file a complaint with the PHRC by calling 717-787-4410. Information and resources are also available at www.PHRC.pa.gov.