Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Following two deaths at the Allen Benedict Court apartments in January, federal lawmakers from South Carolina are calling for change.
New legislation filed Monday would place carbon monoxide detectors in all public housing units.
It's called the "Safe Housing For Families Act."
"They have smoke detectors in HUD housing, so it only stands reason that they should have a carbon monoxide detector right there as well," said Congressman Joe Cunningham of South Carolina's 1st District.
Monday, Congressman Cunningham along with Congressman Chuy García of Illinois introduced the Safe Housing for Families Act.
It's mission is simple: to have every unit in public housing equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.
"Two men at Allen Benedict Apartments shouldn't have had to lose their lives for this to happen," said Cunningham. "What happened there was not an isolated incident either. Since 2003, there have been 11 deaths in HUD housing from carbon monoxide poisoning, maybe more."
Cunningham says deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning, known as the silent killer, can and should be prevented.
"This is something that targets elderly people and children. Myself, being a new father, these things hit home in a way they've never done before," he said. "This is a simple solution."
In a letter sent to HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, over 15 organizations throughout the country urged HUD to issue emergency guidance to all public housing authorities and private owners of HUD-subsidized housing.
They're calling for an immediate installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all units, and they ask HUD to "...reiterate Public Housing Authorities' and owners' obligations to follow state and local building and health codes".
Right now, 4.6 million families receive public housing assistance from HUD.
Monday, Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.