Rural Housing Service Sends Letter on VAWA Compliance to Multi-Family Housing Program Staff

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Rural Housing Service (RHS) issued on November 23 an Unnumbered Letter providing guidance to RHS Multi-Family Housing program staff on complying with the housing provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA provides legal rights and protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Recognizing the key role housing plays in ensuring survivors’ safety, VAWA’s housing provisions prohibit certain federally assisted housing providers from denying potential tenants’ residency or terminating current tenants’ residency because of the violence committed against them. VAWA also establishes protections for survivors who are cohabitating with their abuser and in need of safe housing, including providing emergency transfers and bifurcating leases.

The letter reminds RHS Multi-Family Housing program staff of their obligation to follow VAWA protocol, to maintain strict confidentiality for tenants seeking VAWA protections, and provides best practices for staff working with survivors.

Read the RHS letter at: