Violence Against Women Act
In 2005, Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and included important new housing provisions. The VAWA housing provisions are the first federal housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
These provisions included funding for housing services, confidentiality provisions in the HMIS system, planning requirements for VAWA implementation for Public Housing Authorities, and protections against discriminatory denials and evictions in Public and Section 8 housing for victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
In 2010, many updates were made to VAWA. The rule clarifies such matters as how to document the existence of domestic violence, how to address conflicting certifications of abuse, and how and when to determine whether accommodating a victim would present an "actual and imminent" threat to other tenants. It also obligates public housing agencies to waive limitations on voucher portability in cases of domestic violence, to ensure that victims retain housing assistance in the event of family break-up, and to amend leases to reflect these regulatory developments. For full descriptions of amendments to the bill, visit our fact sheet on Conforming Amendments.
For more information, see the NLCHP's VAWA Fact Sheet.
For frequently asked questions: NLCHPs VAWA Q&A
Although the law went into effect in January of 2006, many Housing Authorities and Project-Based Section 8 providers are not in compliance with the law. NLCHP is leading a coalition to try to ensure proper implementation of the law. NLCHP has submitted testimony to Congress and met with legislators to ask them to ensure that the Department of Housing and Urban Development provides proper oversight of the Housing Authorities and Section 8 owners affected by VAWA.
Statement to House Financial Services Committee
Statement to Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Implementation problems in Arkansas, First District
Implementation problems in California
Implementation problems in Connecticut
Implementation problems in North Carolina
Implementation problems in Oakland County, Michigan
Implementation problems in Rhode Island
Funding for Domestic Violence Services
The Violence Against Women Act, the Victims of Crime Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act provide critical funding for services for survivors. Funded services range from police and judicial training to legal services to shelter and counseling. While these programs have always been funded under the levels that Congress originally authorized, there are significant proposed cuts in 2009. The Campaign for Funding to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, an alliance of national advocacy groups have come together to advocate for increased funding in 2009 and beyond. Groups working on these issues are encouraged to post links to their materials or to share stories of how cuts will affect their programs. Survivors are also encouraged to share stories about how these programs have helped them.
More information about the Campaign and funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services can be found here. http://www.nnedv.org/action-alerts/policy-making/calls-on-voca/vawa-funding-a-success.html
State and Local Legislation
Many states and localities have passed or are considering legislation to protect the housing rights of survivors of domestic violence.
NLCHP is very involved in the passage and implementation of legislation that provides new protections for survivors of domestic violence. In 2006, D.C. passed the D.C. Protection from Discriminatory Evictions for Victims of Domestic Violence Amendment Act, which amended several D.C. laws to create new housing protections for victims of intrafamilial violence. This law applies to all housing in the District public and private These protections include: early lease termination, lease bifurcation, protection for calling the police, lock changes and protection from discriminatory denials and evictions. The law went into effect in March of 2007.