State Housing Finance Agency Compliance
With the Violence Against Women Act
In 2013 the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was amended to apply to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. In 2016, RHLS was part of a group of organizations (American Civil Liberties Union, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Housing Law Project, and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law) that designed and distributed a survey to state housing finance agencies asking them what they were doing to educate partners and residents about VAWA 2013 and what they were doing in terms of compliance. The findings were included in Protections Delayed: State Housing Finance Agency Compliance With The Violence Against Women Act, which was issued in early 2017.
2016 Survey Results
23 states responded to the survey. The majority of the states that responded said they had already or planned to: educate owners, developers and management agents about VAWA; educate tenants about VAWA; and offer trainings for owners, developers, and management agents about VAWA implementation.
2018 Survey Highlights
In 2018 we again surveyed HFAs regarding VAWA implementation. See sent a link to the survey (using Survey Monkey) to all of the HFAs. The survey questions included the same questions as the first survey and added a few additional questions designed to see whether HFAs were moving beyond raising awareness to a point of expecting and monitoring for compliance with VAWA. We received 24 responses. Not every HFA responded to every question.
Ninety-five percent (23) of respondents indicated that they have already or plan to take steps to inform applicants and residents of LIHTC properties of their rights under VAWA 2013 (including the prohibition on evicting a victim based on these offenses). This is a marked increase from the results of our previous survey, where only 78% (18) answered a similar question in the affirmative. Nineteen respondents indicated that they had already the step, which was up from 11 in the 2017 survey.
The number of respondents indicating that they were requiring a lease addendum was 17 as compared to eight in the previous survey. The majority of respondents indicated that they were utilizing HUD Form 91067, which is the VAWA lease addendum that HUD multifamily providers use. Only two respondents indicated that they had created their own VAWA form. Of the 17 respondents that require the use of a VAWA lease addendum, twelve indicated that they monitor for compliance with the requirement.
VAWAHOME. COM — QAP & Compliance Manual Research
In the fall of 2017, RHLS started researching how HFAs were addressing VAWA in their QAPs. We saw a significant increase in the number of states included language in their QAPs about VAWA compliance requirements from 2016 to 2017. We were only able to identify 3 states in 2016 that included VAWA enforcement language in their QAPs. In 2017, the number jumped to 12. To aid advocates and HFA staff, we extracted key pages with sample language.
We eventually supplemented our QAP research with a search of LIHTC Compliance Manuals to see which included language related to VAWA enforcement. 13 Compliance Manuals included language related to VAWA enforcement.
This research has now been published as part of a stand alone website — www.vawahome.com — focused on supporting domestic violence and sexual assault providers who are trying to better understand the intersection between VAWA and LIHTC and to increase the ease with which survivors can access VAWA’s housing protections in LIHTC. The research shows the continued trend of increased attention being paid to VAWA in LIHTC. As one example, see the map below showing the changes over time in how many states reference VAWA as a law to be complied with in either their Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) or Compliance Manual (CM). Slide the scroll bar at the bottom to interact with the maps (change to a specific year or to have it “play” the changes over the years).