By Lisa Vercauteren, Vice President of Housing Programs
HUD's Final Rule implementing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013 was published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2016. This Final Rule details the requirements for the HUD-covered programs and is effective Dec. 16, 2016. It is important to note that VAWA 2013 also covers the LIHTC and Rural Housing programs, but the Departments of Treasury and Agriculture have not issued their Final Rule for these programs to date. Many state agencies, however, have already incorporated VAWA 2013 compliance into their state requirements.
The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994, after Delaware Senator Joe Biden submitted a proposal to Congress to address the issue of domestic violence. Through the years, many have questioned why "women" was used in the title when men are victims of violence as well. In a 2005 Delaware News Journal article, Robin Brown provided Senator Biden's clarification:
"The reality is that the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women and children, and most outreach organizations take those demographics into consideration when providing services. However, we do recognize that though not the norm, there are men abused by their wives and violence does occur in same-sex relationships. The bottom line is, violence is violence no matter what gender the victim. Because of that, the Violence Against Women Act applies to all victims." VAWA 2013 extends protection to all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, regardless of gender.
HUD's 102-page Final Rule requires that the Notice of Occupancy Rights and accompanying certification form be provided at the following times:
- At admission to a covered program;
- at rejection from a covered program;
- within one year for all existing residents; and,
- at time of notification of termination of tenancy or termination of assistance for all current residents.
In addition, the Final Rule details the requirement to establish an Emergency Transfer Plan, no later than June 14, 2017, that allows a tenant to transfer to a new unit/building when the tenant reasonably believes that there is a threat of imminent harm from further violence if the tenant remains in the same unit. The Final Rule includes a model Emergency Transfer Plan that owners can modify for this purpose. HUD requires that owners track and submit information on emergency transfer requests and outcomes on an annual basis.
Download the VAWA 2013 Final Rule.
For further information on the VAWA 2013 Final Rule, please join us on Jan. 12, 2017 or Feb. 9, 2017 for our VAWA Update webinar.