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LOOKING FORWARD – What the expanded Violence Against Women Authorization (VAWA) Act means to you

Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Authorization Act (VAWA) and greatly expanded it.  VAWA housing protections were passed in 2005 that helped prevent discrimination against unjust evictions of survivors of domestic violence in public and assisted housing.

Expansion now includes almost every housing program, including:

  • Section 8
  • Section 202
  • Section 811
  • BMIR
  • Section 236
  • Rural Development Housing
  • Title IV McKinney-Vento homeless housing
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Title VIII/Subtitle D Cranston-Gonzalez Act Housing; and
  • Sections 6 and 7 of U.S. Housing Act of 1937

VAWA also now covers more classes of individuals, including:

  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Victims of dating violence
  • Victims of stalking
  • Victims of sexual assault
  • An immigrant who is a victim of any of the above violent acts
  • Any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individual who is a victim of any of the above violent acts; and
  • Any victims on Native American tribal lands.

New paperwork and revised forms are going to be needed, mandating you to notify applicants and tenants of their housing rights under VAWA[1].  Specifically, you must provide notice:

  • At the time of application;
  • At move-in; and
  • With any notification of eviction or assistance termination.

The HUD-required lease must now include a description of specific protections afforded to the victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.  An incident(s) of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking will not be construed as a serious or repeated lease violation of the victim or threatened victim.

Finally, VAWA now mandates that you adopt an emergency housing transfer policy for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

To see the full VAWA act, click here: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

[1] Although this law is currently in effect, HUD has yet to release and instructions or model plans for emergency transfers.

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