Preventing Homelessness and Ensuring Housing Rights for Victims of Landlord Domestic Violence
The survey that is the subject of this manual grew out of NLCHP's involvement with the United Nations Regional Consultation on Women and the Right to Adequate Housing in North America in October 2005. During the Consultation, women spoke of the difficulties they faced in obtaining and maintaining housing and in particular, addressed topics including violence, forced evictions, homelessness, inadequate housing, and discrimination. Several of the women mentioned the problem of "sex for rent," or landlords proposing that tenants perform sexual favors in lieu of rent or in exchange for reduced rent. Consequently, NLCHP became concerned that landlord sexual violence against tenants may be contributing to homelessness and restricting access to housing for low-income individuals.
NLCHP' s mission is to prevent and end homelessness. In pursuing this goal, NLCHP advocates for the right to adequate housing for all. Consistent with international human rights standards, housing means more than four walls and a roof; it must provide an environment that is secure and endangers neither the health nor physical well-being of its occupants.2 A landlord who sexually assaults or rapes a tenant not only denies that tenant adequate housing, but may also be causing him or her to become homeless. For this reason, NLCHP views the problem of landlord sexual assault not simply as an issue of sexual violence, but also as the denial of the right to housing.