In Recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month Wasserman Schultz Introduces Bill to Provide Housing Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

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Washington, DC, April 5, 2017 | comments
In Recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month Wasserman Schultz Introduces Bill to Provide Housing Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. "Too many women who are in the midst of trying to escape or recover from sexual and domestic violence face the daunting challenge of just finding a safe place to live, often under economic duress caused by the very same abuser. Adding to the pain and hardship they face by allowing them to be evicted from their homes is immoral and reprehensible. We can help end that compounded discrimination with this legislation."
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U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and Lamar Smith (TX-21) introduced legislation in the House today that would help ensure victims of domestic violence and sexual assault receive protection from eviction and have legal access to housing.

According to a National Law Center on Poverty & Homelessness survey of social service providers who handle housing issues, more than 10 percent of evictions and more than one in four housing denials involved victims of domestic violence because of the crimes committed against them. Unfortunately, current law does not adequately protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault from eviction for the disturbances or damages caused by their abusers.

“Too many women who are in the midst of trying to escape or recover from sexual and domestic violence face the daunting challenge of just finding a safe place to live, often under economic duress caused by the very same abuser,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Adding to the pain and hardship they face by allowing them to be evicted from their homes is immoral and reprehensible. We can help end that compounded discrimination with this legislation.”

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a companion bill authored by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was reintroduced in the Senate today. Shaheen first introduced the bill last year.

“This bill ensures that domestic violence and sexual assault survivors have necessary access to housing, enabling them to feel safe as they build the next chapter in their lives,” said Smith.

The Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act would build on existing legal protections in the Fair Housing Act and the Violence Against Women Act by establishing a nationwide standard to ensure that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault cannot be evicted or somehow penalized for being victims of these heinous crimes.

This legislation would provide clear authority and direction to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect domestic violence and sexual assault victims from housing discrimination, and expands these protections beyond public and affordable housing to private dwellings as well.

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Contact: David Damron at David.Damron@Mail.House.Gov or 202-906-0542

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