USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (VAWA) POLICY
The VAWA Act provides tenant rights and protections to certain programs authorized under sections of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended (42 U.S.C. §1471, et seq); namely, Rural Development’s Section 515 Rural Rental Housing (RRH), Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing (FLH), Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing (GRRP), and Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) programs (referred collectively as MFH Programs).
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) requires owner/agents of federally assisted housing to support, through their property policies, victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking and protect victims and their families from being denied or losing housing through a government program covered under the Act, solely due to victim status.
• Being a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, as these terms are defined in the law, is not a basis for denial of assistance or admission to assisted housing if the applicant otherwise qualifies for assistance or admission
• Incidents or threats of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking will not be construed as serious or repeated violations of the lease or as "good cause" for termination of the assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights of the victim
• Criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, engaged in by a member of a tenant's household or any guest or other person under the tenant's control, shall not be cause for termination of assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights if the tenant or an affiliated individual of the tenant is the victim.