Newsletters

Domestic Violence Initiative – Newsletters

Each month, NHLP publishes a newsletter on a variety of current housing issues that affect survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Past issues of the newsletter are available here.

Spring-Summer 2017 Newsletter

This newsletter summarizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s January 2017 notice regarding VAWA 2013 implementation in the agency’s Rural Development and Multi-Family Housing programs. Additionally, the newsletter briefly discusses HUD steps to implement VAWA 2013, including issuing the final VAWA 2013 rule and subsequent guidance. The newsletter also provides an overview of guidance issued by HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) regarding immigrant eligibility for homeless assistance programs. Finally, the newsletter highlights three recent lawsuits: two of these lawsuits challenge local nuisance ordinances, and the third lawsuit challenges eviction screening policies due to their impact on African-American women.

January – March 2017

This newsletter highlights HUD’s rule implementing VAWA 2013, which was effective December 16, 2016; discusses a HUD/HHS/DOJ joint letter reiterating federal policy on immigrants’ rights to access programs to protect life or safety; covers a VAWA amendment that strengthens housing protections for survivors; and summarizes a series of HUD regulations and guidances on fair housing and equal access.

Spring-Summer 2016 Newsletter

This newsletter describes a settlement that a domestic violence survivor reached with a public housing authority in Illinois for allegedly refusing to repair her unit after she had been severely burned in a fire set by the abuser; a settlement that a survivor reached with the City of Surprise, Arizona to repeal a nuisance ordinance; a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against landlords in West Virginia for allegedly sexually harassing tenants; and resources on LGBT homelessness issues for HUD-funded service providers.

November-December 2015 Newsletter

This newsletter provides brief summaries of recent HUD developments on several housing issues. Specifically, HUD has: (1) issued a final regulation that defines “chronically homeless”; (2) proposed a regulation concerning harassment in housing and liability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA); (3) proposed a regulation concerning access to shelters and other facilities funded by HUD’s Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs consistent with individuals’ gender identity; and (4) issued guidance stating that arrest records alone cannot be the basis for housing decisions in federally subsidized housing. (Note to OVW Grantees: The Office of Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, does not handle issues regarding sexual harassment.)

September-October 2015 Newsletter

This newsletter announces the release of NHLP’s 2015 edition of <i>Housing Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors: A State and Local Law Compendium</i> and summarizes a lawsuit filed by a domestic violence survivor against a municipality in Arizona. In the complaint, the survivor alleges that the city’s nuisance laws violated fair housing laws as well as federal and state constitutional laws when they were enforced against the plaintiff-survivor for contacting the police for protection against domestic violence.

August 2015 Newsletter

This newsletter features summaries of HUD’s most recent notice on anti-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals and families accessing and maintaining HUD-assisted and -insured programs as well as a Notice of Funding Availability for HUD’s VAWA-HOPWA Demonstration Project.

June-July 2015 Newsletter

This issue summarizes key aspects of a policy brief by HUD on the coordinated entry process that may be helpful for advocates working with survivors on accessing housing. The newsletter further highlights a conciliation agreement between HUD and the City of Berlin, NH mandating the City to amend an ordinance, which required landlords to evict tenants cited three or more times for “disorderly behavior”, to exempt domestic violence survivors.

May 2015 Newsletter

This issue summarizes a new report released by the Vera Institute of Justice concerning the need to improve access to services for domestic and sexual violence survivors within the Deaf community.

April 2015 Newsletter

This issue covers HUD’s release of a proposed rule that would implement VAWA 2013; two notices issued by HUD that provide guidance concerning the Equal Access Rule; and military sexual trauma as a barrier to housing for female veterans.

March 2015 Newsletter

This issue features a summary of USDA Rural Development’s (RD) revised notice concerning VAWA 2013 implementation and a lawsuit filed by a survivor in Louisiana against her landlord for allegedly evicting her and her son under a zero-tolerance policy after her ex-boyfriend attacked her in her apartment.

January-February 2015 Newsletter

This newsletter includes an overview of survivors’ rights in rental housing as well as a summary of a report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics concerning domestic violence trends.

December 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter explores the question of whether there are laws that prevent a landlord from refusing to rent to a survivor of domestic or sexual violence explicitly because of violence committed against him or her. Additionally, this month’s newsletter outlines protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) survivors under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 and other legal authorities such as the HUD Equal Access Rule and the Fair Housing Act.

November 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter discusses a recent HUD charge of discrimination filed against a housing provider for attempting to evict a domestic violence survivor because she was attacked by her abuser. HUD has alleged that the landlord discriminated against the survivor on the basis of sex, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, the newsletter provides an overview of a recent survey where considerable knowledge gaps were discovered concerning the rights of immigrant survivors to access transitional housing.

October 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter describes settlements in two important cases. In the first case, <i>Briggs v. Norristown</i>, a domestic violence survivor challenged an ordinance that penalized landlords with tenants who called the police too many times during a certain period. The ordinance did not have an exception for domestic violence survivors seeking police protection from their abusers. The second case, <i>United States v. VanderVennen</i>, involved a landlord who allegedly engaged in a pattern of sexually harassing female tenants. This month’s publication discusses the background and settlement terms for these cases. (Note to OVW Grantees: The Office of Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, does not handle issues regarding sexual harassment.)

September 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter features a Q&A about HUD’s recent notice to public housing authorities (PHAs) regarding implementation of the Equal Access Rule, which prohibits LGBT discrimination in HUD programs. Additionally, the newsletter also includes a summary of recent updates to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness’ PHA Guidebook to Ending Homelessness, which now reflects the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 and advises PHAs on how to serve the housing needs of survivors.

July-August 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter discusses the updated VAWA 2013 self-certification form issued by HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing; a survivor’s settlements against New Hampshire landlords involving alleged housing denials because of domestic violence-related 911 calls made by the survivor; and a DOJ settlement with a housing provider in California involving claims of discrimination against families with children.

June 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter announces the release of NHLP’s 2014 edition of “Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors: A State and Local Law Compendium.” It also includes an article summarizing a series of HUD conciliation agreements entered into by Bank of America and several women alleging lending discrimination due to maternity leave in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

May 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter discusses a conciliation agreement between a survivor and a property management company in Florida that denied housing to the survivor because she did not provide the Social Security numbers of her minor children due to safety concerns related to domestic violence. It further covers a settlement of a lawsuit filed by ten survivors alleging that the NYC Housing Authority allowed apartment applications from survivors of domestic violence to remain unresolved for months and years.

March-April 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter summarizes and discusses USDA Rural Development’s notice to RD state directors and program directors of RD Multifamily Housing Programs regarding VAWA 2013’s housing provisions.

February 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter covers two anti-discrimination cases – One filed by a survivor of sexual harassment in which a Washington state court for the first time applied the state’s anti-discrimination law to sexual harassment that occurred in a housing context. The other lawsuit involved a survivor of domestic violence who sued a local housing authority for forcing her to leave her public housing unit due to the violence committed against her and for preventing her from renting elsewhere by providing a negative reference to prospective landlords.

January 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter discusses whether the Fair Housing Act applies to shelters and further covers a HUD notice seeking comments on revising an expiring VAWA certification form, Form HUD-50066. In addition, it highlights a HUD newsletter reiterating VAWA 2013’s coverage of HOME-funded programs.

December 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter includes an article on a study, which found that African-American women in Milwaukee were evicted at higher rates than other groups of people.

November 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter covers a settlement of a lawsuit in California against a landlord in favor of tenants who were sexually harassed by the building’s staff, a study indicating that children are a risk factor for eviction and a letter that HUD sent to housing authorities concerning implementation of VAWA 2013’s housing provisions.

October 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter discusses two notices issued by HUD that impact survivors and their advocates. The first article covers HUD’s notice that provides guidance to multifamily housing owners on how they can adopt admissions preferences for the homeless. The second article addresses a notice from HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity that clarifies the definition of “assistance animals” under civil rights laws.

August-September 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter includes articles on HUD’s notice concerning the applicability of VAWA 2013 to HUD programs, housing protections for survivors with limited English proficiency as well as a response to a technical assistance question regarding survivors facing evictions or subsidy terminations because of damage to the unit caused by the abuser. There is also a link to a Q and A (available in English and Spanish) for survivors with criminal records accessing federally assisted housing.

July 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter discusses a case filed in federal court challenging a nuisance ordinance in Norristown, Pennsylvania that punishes survivors for contacting the police. It also details a report documenting the obstacles that survivors with limited English proficiency face seeking police protection.

June 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter addresses how advocates can work with state financing agencies to improve survivors’ access to Low-Income Housing Tax Credit housing.

April-May 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter includes articles summarizing the key housing provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 and HUD’s Disparate Impact Rule.

March 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter discusses best practices in controlling bedbugs for advocates and housing providers as well as technical assistance questions pertaining to who covers the cost of lock changes and evictions from shelters.

February 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter provides an update on the reauthorization of VAWA and covers HUD’s conciliation agreement with a Virginia property management company that had a policy of requiring applicants to speak English.

January 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter addresses how public housing authorities should handle conflicting claims of domestic violence under VAWA, Alaska’s rental assistance program for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and a technical assistance question concerning whether sexual assault survivors are eligible for HUD’s homelessness programs.