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New Housing Protections Under The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

September 11, 2018

The Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA) and subsequent guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) establishes new housing protections for individuals participating in HUD-funded housing programs who are survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking. In response, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Commission has approved “Housing Protections Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care.”  This policy provides protections against discrimination, a requirement to notify participants of occupancy rights, a requirement to develop emergency transfer plans, and establishes provisions for lease bifurcation.

LAHSA’s policy extends VAWA housing protections to survivors of human trafficking and makes requirements under VAWA applicable to all housing providers that receive LAHSA funding. This is to ensure that separate or unequal situations are not created for participants within housing programs who have or are currently experiencing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and/or human trafficking. Additionally, California laws require housing providers to provide early lease terminations and lock changes for survivors in rental housing.

To assist housing providers in identifying the basic obligations under VAWA and related state laws, the "Obligations of Los Angeles Continuum of Care Housing Providers Under the Violence Against Women Act and Related California Laws Checklist" has been developed to serve as a resource. This checklist outlines the obligations HUD-funded housing providers, including owners and managers, have under VAWA and California state laws. Please use the Q&A form to submit questions regarding the obligations listed in this checklist.

As part of efforts to implement LAHSA's VAWA Policy, LAHSA in collaboration with the National Alliance for Safe Housing (NASH) and National Housing Law Project (NHLP) are working with various stakeholders to develop emergency transfer plans for survivors. NASH and NHLP have developed a questionnaire for providers to help inform how to support programs and staff to better serve survivors. Providers are asked to complete the questionnaire here. Direct responses will be viewed by NASH and NHLP; only non-identifying information and themes will be shared with LAHSA.

LAHSA will issue further guidance pertaining to implementation as supporting materials and trainings are developed and made available.

HUD Resources:
To further assist with implementation, HUD has published forms 5380, 5381, 5382, and 5383  which provide details on procedures around the notice of occupancy rights and the emergency transfer plan. To facilitate implementation within the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, LAHSA has made minor modifications to the HUD forms to ensure that they include human trafficking victims and contact information for local resources:

The HUD forms are also available in multiple languages: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/administration/hudclips/forms/hud5a

About the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA):
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is a joint powers authority of the City and County of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address the problems of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is the lead agency in the HUD-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care, and coordinates and manages over $243 million annually in federal, state, county and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing and services to homeless people.To see LAHSA’s Continuum of Care policies, please visit https://www.lahsa.org/news?article=331-la-continuum-of-care-policies.

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