The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced and began to roll out new resources to grant additional resources and protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
These new resources include a new VAWA website, a new notice laying out HUD’s enforcement and responsibility under the act, and a $5 million in funding to provide training and assistance to HUD grantees and other stakeholders.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law reauthorized by President Biden in 2022 that, in part, provides housing protections for people applying for or living in units subsidized by the federal government and who have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, to help keep them safe and reduce their likelihood of experiencing homelessness. It also protects a victims right to call emergency services without retaliation from landlords.
VAWA protects survivors, regardless of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, regardless of the sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation of the person who caused harm.
“No one should have to choose between maintaining housed and staying safe. The Violence Against Women Act makes clear that survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking cannot be denied housing and are eligible for an emergency transfer should the need arise,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “We are making these protections clear on HUD’s website, so landlords are aware of our requirements and survivors know their rights.”
According to HUD, under the act applicants and tenants of certain HUD rental assistance programs may not be denied housing, evicted, or have their housing assistance terminated because they have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Additionally, survivors must be able to access certain remedies, such as the ability to request an emergency transfer for safety reasons related to the violence.
For HUD landlords that do not comply, they can be investigated by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FEHO).
“FHEO has long worked to eradicate discrimination in housing. With this new authority to enforce the housing provisions of VAWA, FHEO is committed to protecting the rights of VAWA survivors and their families,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
“The new website, enforcement notice, and technical assistance funding are critical first steps in helping survivors understand their VAWA rights and housing providers understand their obligations under VAWA,” said Karlo Ng, HUD’s Director on Gender-based Violence Prevention and Equity. “All these components are vital in ensuring that survivors can find and live in safe, stable, and affordable housing.”
Click here to view the announcement in its entirety.