WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finalized a new rule to protect housing for survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. HUD’s new rule is posted online.
“Nobody should have to choose between an unsafe home and no home at all,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro in an address to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Chandler, Arizona. “Today we take a necessary step toward ensuring domestic violence survivors are protected from being twice victimized when it comes to finding and keeping a home they can feel safe in.”
Under HUD’s rule, domestic violence also includes dating violence, sexual assault and stalking – or for simply being affiliated with a victim.
HUD’s rule includes:
• Continuation of core protections – The rule codifies core protection across HUD’s covered programs ensuring survivors are not evicted, denied applicant assistance as have assistance terminated because they’re a victim of domestic violence.
• Emergency transfers – Emergency transfers allow survivors to move to another safe and available unit if they fear for their life and safety. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) required HUD to adopt a model emergency transfer plan for housing providers and explain how housing providers must address a tenants’ requests for emergency transfers. HUD’s model emergency transfer plan:–allows a survivor to self-certify–allows the survivor to determine what is a safe unit for purposes of the transfer–requires housing providers to allow a resident to move immediately if there is another safe and available unit that does not require the survivor to undergo an application process as a new tenant–requires housing providers to explain the efforts they’ll take if there isn’t a unit available for an emergency transfer–requires housing providers to document requests for emergency transfers, including the outcome of the request, and to report annually to HUD
• Adverse effects of abuse protection – Domestic violence can often have negative economic and criminal consequences on a survivor. The perpetrator may take out credit cards in a survivor’s name or cause damage to a survivor’s property. A survivor may be forced to participate in criminal activity or be arrested during a domestic disturbance. The final rule ensures that covered housing providers do not deny tenancy or occupancy rights based solely on these adverse factors.
• Low-barrier certification process – Under most circumstances, a survivor need only self-certify in order to exercise their rights under VAWA.
On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) into law, which significantly expanded housing protections to survivors of domestic violence across HUD’s core housing and homelessness programs. HUD immediately modified administrative practices to incorporate the core protections, but the more expansive protections required a change in regulation. According to HUD, this final rule satisfies that requirement.
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