JOHNSTOWN – Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), announced today his intent to introduce legislation to reform public housing within the Commonwealth.
In October, the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee held a hearing in the City of Johnstown examining the state of public housing. Testimony showed a marked rise in the transient population dramatically affecting local schools, social services and law enforcement.
Langerholc’s initiative will establish a Public Housing Safety Committee within each Public Housing Authority to properly vet and deny admissions to individuals with a recent criminal record if they present a threat to the health and safety of the community. Further, it will also require Public Housing Authorities to share background checks of prospective tenants to landlords prior to the landlord accepting the tenant under the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
“We want to have a welcoming community here in Johnstown for anybody that wants to work here, wants to live here, wants to raise their family here, but we must make certain that we are not attracting the wrong type of individuals to our area,” Langerholc said. “This legislation uses the very few tools that the Federal Government has given the states in regard to public housing to ensure our communities are safe for all of our residents.”
This legislation will be narrowly tailored to serve a substantial, legitimate and nondiscriminatory interest and will not violate protections under the Fair Housing Act and other relevant federal laws.