H.R. 3047- Bill Requiring Drug-related Screenings of Individuals Seeking Housing Assistance

May 3, 2016 by Jake M.

On July 13, 2015, Representative David Rouzer (R-NC) introduced a bill (H.R. 3047) that would then require certain welfare programs, including public housing and Section 8 housing, to deny any benefits to those who fail a drug test or who are considered at high risk of drug abuse.

Under the bill, a public housing agency (PHA) or HUD was to be restricted from giving housing assistance without screening individuals first, for either having drug-related arrests within the last five years or for being at high risk of drug abuse.

Those with drug-related arrests, could only receive housing assistance after testing negative for any drugs that the PHA or HUD considered appropriate for testing. Those with no arrest history need to complete a substance abuse screening, typically a questionnaire or an interview given in whichever way the PHA or HUD deems appropriate. Based upon that particular screening, the PHA or the HUD determines whether or not the applicant has a high risk of abusing drugs. Those that are considered to be to be high risk would be ineligible for housing assistance.

If an individual fails a drug test or is considered high-risk for drug abuse, they will be held back from receiving housing assistance for the length of at least one year. In order to become eligible again, they need to complete a treatment program and test negative for drugs. PHA’s that fail to comply with any of these requirements will have their federal funding decreased by 15% in the following fiscal year.

This bill does not require individuals or families to bear the cost of testing and screening, as costs will be covered by money from the public housing operating fund, PHA admin fees, and project based Section 8 appropriations.

As Mr. Rouzer presented the bill in 2015, he stated, “Taxpayers deserve to know that their money isn’t subsidizing a drug addiction, which only leads to a tragic life of dependency”

This bill was referred to several House committees which included:

  1. The Committee on Financial Services

  2. The Committee on Agriculture

  3. The Committee on Ways and Means

You may view the bill text here