PIH Provides VAWA Guidance for PHAs and Owners Who Accept Vouchers

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH-2017-08 providing guidance about complying with the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013” (VAWA 2013). Although the Notice is directed to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and owners of private housing who accept Housing Choice Vouchers, advocates will also benefit from familiarity with the guidance.

On November 16, 2016, HUD issued a final rule (VAWA Final Rule) implementing VAWA 2013 for HUD’s housing programs (see Memo, 11/21/16). Because Notice PIH-2017-08 does not touch on every aspect of the VAWA Final Rule, the Notice should be used in conjunction with the VAWA Final Rule.

The VAWA Final Rule includes core protections across HUD programs, ensuring individuals are not denied assistance, evicted, or have their assistance terminated because of their status as survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or for being affiliated with a victim. In addition, HUD programs must be operated consistent with the Equal Access Rule (see Memo, 2/3/12) which requires HUD-assisted housing be made available regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

The 52-page Notice summarizes the major changes to the public housing and voucher programs (including project-based vouchers) and includes an appendix that provides a model owner notification to applicants and tenants of their VAWA rights and obligations. Among the topics covered by the Notice are who may receive VAWA protections, emergency transfers, family breakup, lease bifurcation, and establishing waiting list preferences.

Notice PIH-2017-08 is at: http://bit.ly/2rlOoNP