A website, rules and $5M in funding will help survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking under the Violence Against Women Act.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced new resources to protect survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
The updates fall under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). New resources include a new VAWA website, a Notice setting out HUD’s enforcement authority under VAWA, and up to $5 million in funding to provide VAWA training and technical assistance to HUD grantees and other stakeholders.
“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,” says HUD 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.”
Under VAWA, applicants and tenants of certain HUD rental assistance programs cannot 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.
If a housing provider or survivor isn’t clear on VAWA’s protections, they can visit the new webpage, which serves as a clearinghouse for HUD’s VAWA resources. The site features FAQs on VAWA housing protections, VAWA trainings, related forms and legal authorities, as well as referrals to direct services for survivors.
VAWA enforcement to mirror Fair Housing Act
In the Notice also published this week, HUD states that it will “implement and enforce VAWA in such way that provides the same rights and remedies as those provided under the Fair Housing Act.”
The change gives HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) discretion to investigate alleged or suspected non-compliance with VAWA, similar to the way it investigates complaints under the Fair Housing Act.
“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,” says Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s principal deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity.
Finally, HUD also announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity – up to $5 million to be awarded to Technical Assistance Providers (TA Providers) that provide VAWA trainings, technical assistance, and support to housing providers, grantees, and other stakeholders.
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