House Bill Introduced to Require Drug Testing in Public Housing and Section 8 Programs
Representative David Rouzer (R-NC) recently introduced a bill that would amend the Social Security Act by requiring individuals to pass a drug screening process in order to be eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Public Housing, and Section 8 Rental Assistance programs.
The Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Act (H.R. 2179) would implement a two-fold drug screening process, and the method of implementation would be up to the discretion of the states. First, states would be required to verify that individuals haven’t been arrested for a drug-related offense within the previous five years. Second, those with a drug-related offense would be required to undergo a complete drug test while those without an offense would be required to complete substance abuse screening, as determined by the state, to determine risk of substance abuse.
Individuals who fail drug tests would be barred from receiving housing assistance for 12 months or until they successfully complete a treatment program for each controlled substance they tested positive for and pass a new drug screening.
A housing provider may retest residents as it deems appropriate. If a member of a household is removed due to a failed drug test, the household’s housing assistance would be prorated based on the number of family members who remain eligible for the program. And if the HUD Secretary determines that a PHA has substantially failed to comply with the bill, the Secretary must reduce HUD’s funding to the PHA by 15 percent.