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Bill helps victims

| Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) commends the Pennsylvania House for unanimously passing House Bill 1796, sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery, which eliminates local “nuisance” ordinances that threaten domestic violence victims with eviction if they call the police multiple times.

No one should have to choose between taking a beating and 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 that tenant's residence on multiple occasions (usually three times within a year).

Landlords who do not evict “nuisance'' tenants face fines and penalties, including revocation of their rental license.

The dedicated and hardworking staffs at PCADV's 60 community-based programs around the state understand the chilling effect these “nuisance” ordinances have on domestic violence victims.

PCADV worked with Rep. Stephens to ensure the bill considered the safety of victims and their children.

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

As the state Senate considers the bill, PCADV urges our senators to agree that no victim should ever be forced to choose between help and homelessness.

Peg J. Dierkers

Harrisburg

The writer is executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (pcadv.org).

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