Bill Would Require Drug Testing in Public Housing and Section 8 Program

Representative David Rouzer (R-NC) introduced a bill (H.R. 2179) on May 5 that would require individuals to pass a drug test to be eligible for public housing and Section 8 rental assistance, as well as for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The “Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Act” would subject individuals to criminal background checks for drug-related offenses as well as substance abuse screening and would deny housing assistance to an individual who tests positive for a controlled substance.

Individuals who fail drug tests would be barred from receiving housing assistance for twelve 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.

If the HUD secretary determines that a public housing agency (PHA) has substantially failed to comply with the bill, the secretary must reduce HUD’s funding to the PHA by 15%.

NLIHC opposes this bill. Learn more about the bill at: