HUD Clarifies That Certain Noncitizen Victims of Domestic Violence Are Eligible for Housing Assistance

HUD issued a policy memorandum clarifying that certain noncitizens who are “battered or subject to extreme cruelty” by a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) has the right to apply for and receive housing assistance. The “Violence Against Women Act of 1994” (VAWA) allows noncitizens to self-petition for LPR status without the cooperation or knowledge of their abusive relative. These noncitizen victims of domestic violence are referred to as “self-petitioners.”

Section 214 of the “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980” states that HUD may not make certain financial assistance available to noncitizens unless the person meets one of several exceptions, one of which is “lawful permanent resident.” Section 214 also provides that financial assistance cannot be delayed, denied, reduced, or terminated on the basis of immigration status while a person’s eligibility for satisfactory immigration status is being verified or appealed. The memorandum clarifies that self-petitioners can indicate that they are in “satisfactory immigration status” when applying for assistance or continued assistance from Section 214-covered housing programs.

Section 214-covered housing programs include: public housing, tenant-based rental assistance, project-based rental assistance, and other Office of Multifamily programs such as Section 236, Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate, Rent Supplement, and Flexible Subsidy programs.

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) and Office of Multifamily Housing Programs will publish a more detailed joint notice in the future.

Thanks to the National Housing Law Project for alerting NLIHC to the memorandum.

The memorandum issued on December 15, 2016 by Acting General Counsel, Tonya Robinson is at:   

More information about VAWA is on page 6-1 of NLIHC’s 2016 Advocates’ Guide at: