Bill to address 'Air Bridge' issue heading to the governor’s desk

HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 – The state Senate today passed a bill (S.B. 446) that includes state Rep. Angel Cruz’s language to address the "Air Bridge" issue.

“This legislation is needed now more than ever as we face one of the greatest public health epidemics of our time. Addiction is a terrible disease and, without standards for recovery houses, unofficial programs such as ‘Air Bridge’ will continue to take advantage of people,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s proposal would ban the owners, administrators and employees of recovery houses from requiring residents to sign over their public assistance benefits. It also would ensure that all drug and alcohol recovery houses throughout Pennsylvania not in compliance with federal, state or local law be referred to the appropriate agency for further investigation.

“I’d like to acknowledge the prime sponsor of the bill for his commitment and support to resolve this issue. I am confident the governor will sign the legislation into law,” Cruz said.

Air Bridge is a network that promised Puerto Rican drug addicts treatment in lavish recovery houses in cities like Philadelphia. However, once people arrive to receive treatment, they are taken to live in rundown homes, share beds with several other people and are forced to relinquish their food stamps and other public assistance benefits.

In April, Cruz led a public hearing in Philadelphia to discuss and find a solution to the Air Bridge issue.