A Short History of the VAWA in LIHTC Project
In 2013, the Violence Against Women Act's (VAWA) housing protections were amended to apply to housing created by using federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Since then, there have been a series of efforts coming from the legal services community across the United States to try to ensure that VAWA was being properly implemented in LIHTC.
In 2016, a group of organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National Housing Law Project, Regional Housing Legal Services, and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, designed and distributed a survey to state housing finance agencies asking them what they were doing to educate partners and residents about VAWA and what they were doing in terms of compliance. You can read more about the history of this project and the survey findings in the 2017 report: Protections Delayed: State Housing Finance Agency Compliance with the Violence Against Women Act.
In 2019, Karlo Ng of National Alliance for Safe Housing (NASH) and Rachel Blake of Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS) published Upstanders and Bystanders: The Role of State Housing Finance Agencies in Implementing the Violence Against Women Act in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program in the American Bar Association's Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, p. 287.
RHLS, under Rachel Blake's leadership, in partnership with Vanessa Raymond-Garcia, and with the support of many others, has reviewed the text of every LIHTC Qualified Allocation Plan and Compliance Manual for the last several years, catalogued how each state is addressing VAWA (through fall 2020), and created maps that allow advocates to easily see how their state compares to others. Learn more about how RHLS can help with LIHTC research.
NASH, under Karlo Ng's leadership, developed and hosted a national webinar series on VAWA and LIHTC. The purpose was to help advocates who work with survivors understand more about the LIHTC program generally, how the LIHTC program can help survivors, and how survivor advocates can work to make LIHTC more responsive to survivors' needs.
We wish to acknowledge the many people who have helped with various aspects of bringing this phase of the project to realization, including Jennifer Benner, Barbie Brashear, Cristina Cortes, Nora Davenport, Anabel Genevitz, Kaitlin Grant, Jenny Herget, Julian Lutz, Louie Marven, Andrea Miller, Krista Niemczyk, Leslye Orloff, Marcey Rezac, Bettina Robinson, Eric Stahler, Catherine Trapani, Brenda Tong, Amy Turk, Karla Vierthaler and Maria Williams.