HUD Releases Guidance on VAWA 2013 Reauthorization

On May 19, 2017, HUD issued additional guidance on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013 (Notice PIH-2017-08 (HA)), which protects victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, herein referred to as “victims.” The notice updates PHAs and owners on VAWA implementation guidelines for HUD housing programs reference in the 2016 Final Rule (81 Fed. Reg. 80724).

The Guidance provides several notable revisions and clarifications, including an updated definition of sexual assault to classify it as a crime covered by VAWA in HUD-covered programs (see 24 CFR 5.2003).

The Guidance revises the 2005 reauthorization of VAWA so that all tenants and applicants receive statutorily required notification of their VAWA rights, not just victims. It also provides updated protections for tenants who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, herein referred to as “victims.” Tenants or applicants (where applicable) who are victims, may not:

• be discriminated against on the basis of any protected class (see 24 CFR 5.2001(a)), consistent with HUD’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements;

• be denied assistance or have assistance terminated under a covered housing program on the basis of or as a direct result of the fact that the applicant or tenant is or has been a victim (see 24 CFR 5.2005(b)(1));

Other notable changes pertinent to PHA administration include new requirements for notification of occupancy rights under VAWA (see 24 CFR 5.2005(a)), and a revised requirement for documenting the occurrence of domestic violence  (see 24 CFR 5.2007).

HUD’s full notice on guidance resulting from the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 may be found here.