HUD Issues Proposed VAWA Rule
Earlier this week, HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced HUD’s proposed regulation implementing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization of 2013 (VAWA 2013). VAWA prohibits the denial or termination of housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age. VAWA 2013 expands these protections beyond HUD’s public housing and Section 8 programs to include all HUD housing, USDA rural housing, and Housing Credit properties.
The proposed rule would amend HUD regulations to include “sexual assault” as an action covered by VAWA protections; establish a definition for “affiliated individual” based on the statutory definition; apply VAWA protections to the Housing Trust Fund; establish a period of time during which a non-perpetrator tenant may establish eligibility to remain in housing, where the tenant’s household is divided due to issues covered by VAWA; establish what constitutes a safe and available unit to which a victim of domestic violence can be transferred on an emergency basis; and establish what documentation requirements, if any, should be required of a tenant seeking an emergency transfer to another assisted unit.
In proposing how the VAWA protections are to be implemented in the newly covered housing programs, HUD explains that it looked at both the statutory and regulatory framework of each program as well as HUD’s experiences in both administering the program and in working with the different entities that administer the program. HUD is seeking comments from the participants in each of the HUD-covered programs on whether the proposed regulations for the specific HUD-covered program carry out the intent of VAWA within the statutory parameters of the program. These covered programs include Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), HOME Investments Partnership Program (HOME), McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance, Section 221(d)(3) below-market interest rate (BMIR ) multifamily rental housing; the Section 236 program, Section 8 project-based and tenant-based rental assistance, and the Housing Trust Fund.
This proposed rule is pending publication in the Federal Register. HUD will start accepting public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days after the date of publication. Please send your comments on the rule to NCSHA’s Althea Arnold by May 5.