Today, HUD released key protections that are part of a larger effort to safeguard those living in fear in their homes. In an address to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Arizona, Sec. Julian Castro stated: “Nobody should have to choose between an unsafe home and no home at all. Today we take a necessary step toward ensuring domestic violence survivors are protected from being twice victimized when it comes to finding and keeping a home they can feel safe in.” The new protections emphasize four key areas where new protections for victims of domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking to help aid them from being, as Sec. Castro said, twice victimized through a loss of safe housing. The rule supports the continuation of core protections, “ensuring survivors are not denied assistance as an applicant, or evicted or have assistance terminated due to having been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, or for being affiliated with a victim.” It also supports VAWA-mandated emergency transfers. The HUD model
allows a survivor to self-certify their need for an emergency transfer, ensuring documentation is not a barrier to protecting their immediate safety;
allows the survivor to determine what is a safe unit for purposes of the transfer, ensuring that the survivor has control over their own safety planning;
requires housing providers to allow for a resident to move immediately if there is another safe and available unit that does not require the survivor to undergo an application process as a new tenant, ensuring quicker access to safe housing;
requires housing providers to explain the efforts they will take when there is not a safe and available unit available for an emergency transfer and encourages housing provides to partner with victim services and advocates t and other housing providers to assist a survivor;
and requires housing providers to document requests for emergency transfers, including the outcome of the request, and to report annually to HUD.
The rule also provides greater protections against the impacts of abuse, such as damage to their credit and/or eviction history, pressuring them to commit illegal acts resulting in a criminal record, or other harms that may otherwise hurt a victim’s ability to attain housing in the future. This rule “ensures that covered housing providers do not deny tenancy or occupancy rights based solely on these adverse factors that are a direct result of being a survivor.” Finally, the rule ensure a low barrier for these protections, necessitating that people merely self-certify in order to be eligible. You can find the HUD press release here, and you can read the full final rule here.