HUD Strengthens Protections for Domestic Violence Victims
Victims of domestic violence who live in HUD-supported housing should not be evicted just because they were victimized, according to strengthened regulations recently announced by HUD. And current or former victims of domestic violence must not be turned down from HUD programs.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), enacted in 2005, provides legal protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These protections apply to families receiving rental assistance under HUD's public housing program, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, and multifamily project-based Section 8 program. HUD incorporated VAWA's regulatory requirements in an Interim Rule in November 2008.
The recent HUD rule changes address concerns raised by abuse victim advocates that the Interim Rule lacked specifics on how to implement the protective provisions. The changes provide more detailed guidance to housing authorities and Section 8 site owners on how to implement VAWA. For example, the new rule requires that housing authorities or management agents exhaust protective measures before eviction. Evictions can take place only after owners or managers have taken actions that will reduce or eliminate the threat to the victim, including transferring the victim to a different unit; barring the abuser from the site; contacting law enforcement to increase police presence; or seeking other legal remedies to prevent the abuser from acting on a threat.
See HUD's Web site for more information: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-26914.pdf.