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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Affordable Housing Laws Protect Women Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

The federal government, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the source of funding for subsidized housing that helps low-income families afford a place to live. But access to affordable housing also includes protection by HUD laws to ensure that low-income families who are victims of abuse have safe housing.

Affordable housing is essential to helping survivors of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault to escape abusive relationships and start new lives free of violence.

Domestic violence survivors are protected under HUD's Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in many ways, that include:
  • Victims of domestic violence cannot be evicted for calling the police or for the disturbance caused by the violence.
  • Owners of public housing may evict a tenant who causes violence against family members without removing the victims themselves
  • HUD encourages public housing owners to allow victims of domestic violence to transfer their public housing vouchers to another housing facility to avoid domestic violence.

These are protections that those living in subsidized housing need to know and also may need to remind landlords of their obligation under the law.

Immigrants may also qualify for federal subsidized housing but only if they are qualified aliens (legal permanent residents). Unqualified aliens had no protection in housing assistance to escape violence. However,  the U.S. Senate just passed an immigration bill that will grant immigration status to abused aliens to provide safe housing to help them escape from abuse. The bill remains to be approved by the House.


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