The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development (RD) issued Administrative Notice (AN) 4747 regarding the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The purpose of the notice is to inform RD Multi-Family Housing program directors, borrowers, and management agents about the protections that VAWA affords tenants who live in RD-funded Multi-Family Housing properties. In general, VAWA provides protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
The March 2013 reauthorization of VAWA (see Memo, 3/1/13) made RD’s multifamily programs subject to the law. Those programs include: Section 515 Rural Rental Housing; Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing; Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant program; and Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing.
The notice instructs RD staff to read and understand VAWA and be prepared to implement the Model Emergency Transfer Plan if requested by tenants who are or imminently in danger of domestic violence. The AN recommends that owners and managers update their Tenant Selection and Occupancy Rules to incorporate VAWA’s tenant rights and protections. If properties also receive Section 8 assistance, owners and managers should comply with HUD VAWA requirements.
On August 6, 2013 HUD published a notice describing how the changes to the VAWA (see Memo, 8/9/13) affect HUD programs. RD AN 4747 notes that HUD is required by statute to develop a notice of the rights of individuals under VAWA, and that once the HUD notice is completed RD will amend the AN to comport with the HUD notice.
RD AN 4747 is at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/an4747.pdf