On March 17, the House approved, H.R. 1620, the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021,” which includes an industry supported VAWA Victims Relocation Pool Voucher program.
NMHC and NAA strongly support continuing efforts to provide housing solutions for victims of domestic violence, and we have worked closely with Congress and the advocacy community to ensure victims are provided protections under federal housing programs. Through numerous reauthorizations of VAWA, housing providers have worked collaboratively with advocates and Congress to enact critical housing protections for victims of domestic violence.
In 2006, housing provisions were first incorporated into VAWA, ensuring victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking would not lose or be denied housing based on an incident of domestic violence. The bill also included a novel process to permit a lease to be bifurcated - allowing the removal of a perpetrator of violence without evicting a victim or their family. The 2013 reauthorization built on the 2006 protections by expanding VAWA’s application to additional rental housing programs. In addition, the bill improved existing law by allowing property owners to request third-party verification if they receive conflicting information about a domestic violence incident.
NMHC and NAA joined other real estate partners in sending a letter in support of the VAWA Victims Relocation Pool Voucher Program included in the bill. The letter also expressed our concerns on several other H.R. 1620 provisions that will create significant implementation and operational challenges for the industry. Areas of concern include, but are not limited to, the creation of an unworkable emergency relocation transfer plan, a requirement that owners be responsible for referrals and the establishment of a federal preference for victims of domestic violence.
As action now moves to the Senate, NMHC will work for effective and workable measures to support protections for victims of domestic violence.
For more information on NMHC’s advocacy actions surrounding VAWA, visit our VAWA webpage.