On Feb. 28, 2013, Congress approved S. 47, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Following the president’s signature, the new law will be effective on Oct. 1.
This reauthorization builds on previous law and expands VAWA’s application to additional housing programs, which now include Section 8 voucher and project-based programs, low-income housing tax credit properties, HOME and a variety of elderly, disabled and rural housing programs.
In addition, the bill improves upon existing law by allowing property owners and managers who receive “conflicting information” about a domestic violence incident to require third-party verification before extending benefits under the act.
The legislation also adds several new provisions of concern to housing providers. It establishes a new emergency transfer provision, requiring the relevant federal agencies to adopt a model emergency transfer plan that housing providers would use to move residents involved in domestic violence incidents. It also adds new notification provisions requiring additional disclosures at resident application, move in and termination. However, ambiguity in the statutory language will require significant interpretation on behalf of each federal agency administering the VAWA programs.