What is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law that provides housing protections for people who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, to help keep them safe and reduce their likelihood of homelessness.
Who is Covered by VAWA's Housing Protections?
VAWA protects someone who has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. The survivor does NOT have to be married to, related to, or living with the perpetrator to be protected by VAWA. It does not matter how long ago the survivor experienced the violence.
VAWA protects survivors, regardless of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation AND regardless of the sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation of the person who caused the harm.
VAWA's housing protections apply to a survivor if they are applying for or living in shelter, transitional housing, or permanent housing that is subsidized by a federal homeless assistance program or federal affordable housing program, such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. VAWA does NOT apply to market-rate housing without federal homeless assistance or federal housing subsidies.
What are VAWA's Housing Protections?
Under VAWA, someone who has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking:
Cannot be denied admission to a LIHTC unit because of the violence committed against them.
Cannot be evicted from a LIHTC unit because of the violence committed against them.
Cannot be denied admission or evicted from a LIHTC unit for reasons related to the violence, such as having an eviction record, criminal history, or bad credit history.
Must be able to stay in their LIHTC housing, even if there has been criminal activity directly related to the violence.
Must be able to move and have other options to ensure their safety and not lose their housing because of the violence.
Must be able to move with continued assistance, if the survivor has a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.
Must be able to provide proof by self-certifying using the HUD VAWA Self-certification Form (Form HUD-5382).
Must get the Notice of VAWA Housing Rights (Form HUD-5380) and HUD VAWA Self-certification Form (Form HUD-5382), when they are denied admission to a LIHTC unit, when they are admitted to a LIHTC unit, and when they receive a notice of eviction from a LIHTC unit.
Has a right to strict confidentiality of information.
Can request a lease bifurcation to remove the perpetrator from the lease.
Where is the Housing Covered by VAWA?
Apartments financed using federal funding through housing programs operated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), overseen by U.S. Department of the Treasury, are all covered by VAWA -- more than 6 million apartments!
The map below from PolicyMap, using data from HUD, shows the location of large numbers of covered units. If you click on the image, it will take you to an interactive map where you can zoom in and get property level detail. This map may be helpful in determining if a property may be covered. However, you should independently verify the accuracy of the information on the map. Errors may occur in very large datasets and there are time lags. Properties may not be on the list/map that actually qualify and other properties may be showing that are no longer part of covered programs.
If you need assistance determining whether a housing unit is covered by VAWA, please contact us by completing the contact form.