NLCHP Calls on HUD to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence
Failure to Enforce 2005 Law Leads to Evictions
Press Type: Press Release Associated Program: Domestic Violence
WASHINGTON, DC March 12, 2008 - Today, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) called on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure adequate protection for victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. NLCHP criticized HUD's failure to enforce the law to protect victims in public housing from evictions due to the violence against them.
In 2005, Congress unanimously reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), adding important new housing provisions to the law. These critical protections ensured victims could not be denied or evicted from Public Housing or Section 8 housing simply because of the actions of their abusers. Before the law's passage, a victim of violence who called the police for protection could then be evicted because of the incident.
"No one should have to choose between staying with an abuser and homelessness, and yet one of the primary causes of homelessness for women is domestic violence," stated Katherine Zeisel, Domestic Violence Staff Attorney for NLCHP. "A lack of safe and affordable housing is a major reason victims stay in abusive relationships."
VAWA requires Public Housing Authorities ("PHAs") to submit to HUD how they will implement the law and requires PHAs to notify all landlords and tenants of the rights under this law. It is HUD's responsibility to ensure that Housing Authorities and Section 8 owners are properly implementing this law.
Although it has been two years since the law went into effect, HUD is still failing to ensure that victims are protected. Nationwide, evictions of victims are still occurring in spite of VAWA's protections.
In California, a pregnant woman was hospitalized after being attacked by her boyfriend and returned home to an eviction notice. Advocates across the nation report seeing similar cases.
NLCHP urged Congress to use its oversight powers to question HUD about these problems and push the agency to take action. At HUD oversight hearings this week by the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee, NLCHP submitted statements with the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Legal Momentum, the National Housing Law Project and the ACLU on these issues.
"We will continue to put pressure on Congress and on HUD to implement this law," said Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director of NLCHP. "Protecting these housing rights is a critical step in protecting the safety of all victims."
NLCHP's statement to the House Financial Services Committee is available at:
NLCHP's statement to the Senate Banking Committee is available at:
NLCHP is the only national legal advocacy organization solely dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness. Through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education the organization addresses the root causes of homelessness at the local, state, and national levels.
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