This case involves a supportive housing resident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who stabbed and killed another resident. The facility in question was owned by a private company that allegedly failed to employee industry standard practices for vetting and screening prospective residents. The attacker in this case had a long criminal history with a number of violent crimes, in addition to drug use and moving violations. After the man was admitted to the facility, staff allegedly failed to take any precautions to prevent the man from injuring other residents. On one occasion, the man assaulted a social worker, as well as multiple other residents of the facility, with a knife he had hidden on his person. Though none of the victims were fatally injured, a number of them sustained serious injuries that required extended hospital stays.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have extensive experience working in supportive housing?
- 2. Do you have knowledge of the proper steps and protocols that should be followed to adequately background check residents?
- 3. Would you allow someone with a long criminal history access to facility?
Expert Witness Response E-072639
I have extensive experience working in supportive housing. I currently am the Executive Director for a 100 unit supportive housing facility in a major east coast city. I do have knowledge of the proper steps and protocols that should be followed to adequately background check residents, but it is not as straight forward as it may seem. The majority of the country’s, supportive housing is run on a “housing first model” meaning that although background checks are done before admitting someone to a facility, people are generally given housing before requesting that programs be put in place to help individuals with any mental issues or past violence issues. Its hard to put people in these programs after you have secured them a place to live, and it’s likely the residents who need these programs will not partake. This is the majority of the country. My facility has very strict policies and we would have not allowed someone with a long criminal history to access the facility without having them attend a program or seeking help first.