October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Everyone who knows me knows that this particular cause is near and dear to my heart. Every October I usually blog something about Domestic Violence. In the past I was big on quoting statistics and encouraging my readers to support victims. This year I will focus more on providing information that will benefit the victims themselves.
So, last night I was on the SC State Housing website and I ran across the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). I learned that the housing authority cannot discriminate against Domestic Violence (DV) Victims. When I first read it, I thought, "Cool".
However, I had to read deeper to get the full details. The following sums up what I learned about how Section 8 assistance affects domestic violence, dating violence and stalking victims and abusers:
- The housing authority cannot deny rental assistance because someone is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
- A victim CANNOT be terminated or evicted based on acts or threats against them.
- You can be evicted because of actual and imminent (immediate) threats to other tenants or employees at your property if you remain in the housing.
- You cannot be evicted because of criminal domestic violent acts committed against you by a member of your home or guest of your home if you are the victim.
- A landlord is allowed to legally split the lease and evict the abuser who commits violence against family members while allowing the victims and other household members to remain in public assistance housing.
- Abusers can also have their Section 8 assistance terminated and the victim can continue to receive benefits.
- If a victim must move for safety reasons, the housing authority will allow them to keep their assistance even if their lease not up yet.
The facts listed above pertain to South Carolina state law only. I cannot speak for other states at the moment. However, the following links may help:
- If you are in the New York area: http://www.nyc.gov/html/ocdv/html/services/housing.shtml
- I thought this site had some very useful information: http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/statistics.shtml
- If you need to plan an escape I recommend The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/
- State by State fact sheets can be found here: http://www.ncadv.org/resources/FactSheets.php Each state also lists resources to help victims. Highly recommended if you need help and want to look for help in your area.