Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced legislation on April 5 to reduce barriers for domestic and sexual assault victims seeking housing. The “Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act” builds on the protections provided under the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by establishing “a nationwide standard that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault cannot be evicted or denied access to housing solely for being victims of those crimes.” With the new protections in this legislation, HUD and the Department of Justice would have clear and direct authority to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault from housing discrimination. The bill’s language also serves as a model for states to adopt their own protections.
"It's unconscionable to think that someone could be evicted from their home—or outright denied housing—because they've experienced domestic violence or sexual assault… .Our bill would build on provisions in existing law that I championed to more broadly protect survivors, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get it passed into law," said Senator Franken.
Senator Shaheen said that the bill “would ensure that we are no longer punishing victims for the crimes committed against them, and would go a long way toward helping survivors recover and rebuild.”
Thirty-two organizations, including groups focusing on domestic violence, fair housing, and legal services have previously endorsed this effort, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Safe, affordable housing plays a key role in helping to protect survivors of domestic and sexual assault. Too many survivors of sexual assault become homeless, leaving them even more vulnerable to sexual victimization and exploitation. Moreover, survivors often find themselves trapped in homes where they are further victimized by caregivers, parents, siblings, landlords, intimate partners, neighbors, or others in or near their home.
Read Senator Shaheen’s press release at: http://bit.ly/2orDvIi
Read Senator Franken’s press release at: http://bit.ly/2oZxErs