Protections

Protections

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005 provides that “a family may receive a voucher from a public housing agency and move to another jurisdiction under the tenant-based assistance program if the family has complied with all other obligations of the HCV program and has moved out of the assisted dwelling unit in order to protect the health or safety of an individual who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking and who reasonably believed he or she was imminently threatened by harm from further violence if he or she remained in the assisted dwelling unit” 

Denial of Assistance 

The Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA) prohibits denial of admission to an otherwise qualified applicant on the basis that the applicant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. Specifically, VAWA adds the following provision for the housing choice voucher program: 

“That an applicant or participant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, or stalking is not an appropriate reason for denial of program assistance or for denial of admission, if the applicant otherwise qualifies for assistance or admission.” 

Termination of Assistance 

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA) provides that “criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, engaged in by a member of a participant’s household or any guest or other person under the participant’s control shall not be a cause for termination of assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights if the participant or an immediate member of the participant’s family is the victim or threatened victim of that domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.” 

VAWA also gives the PHA the authority to “terminate assistance to any individual who is a participant or lawful occupant and who engages in criminal acts of physical violence against family members or others, without evicting, removing, terminating assistance to, or otherwise penalizing the victim of such violence who is also a tenant or lawful occupant.” 

VAWA does not limit the authority of the PHA to terminate the assistance of any participant if they “can demonstrate an actual and imminent threat to other tenants or those employed at or providing service to the property if that tenant is not evicted or terminated from assistance.” 

VAWA also does not limit the authority of the PHA to maintain the right and authority to terminate the assistance of any participant or member of the participant’s household, including a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking for any violations not premised on the act or acts of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking in question. The PHA must not subject an individual who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, or stalking to a more demanding standard than other residents in determining whether to terminate assistance. 

In determining whether a participant who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, or stalking is an actual and imminent threat to other participants or those employed at or providing service to a property, the PHA will consider the following, and any other relevant, factors: 

  1. Whether the threat is toward an employee or participant other than the victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, or stalking 
  2. Whether the threat is a physical danger beyond a speculative threat 
  3. Whether the threat is likely to happen within a short period of time 
  4. Whether the threat to other tenants or employees can be eliminated in some other way, such as by helping the victim relocate to a confidential location