“Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors have so many obstacles to overcome – it’s unconscionable that women are removed from their homes and face repeated discrimination simply because of the heinous crimes committed against them,” said Senator Shaheen.
“We need to continue working to change the culture surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, and a big part of that effort is recognizing that women suffering from physical or sexual abuse are victims of crime and deserve our support. The Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act of 2016 would ensure that we are no longer punishing victims for the crimes committed against them, and would go a long way toward helping survivors recover and rebuild,” she said.
The bill has been endorsed by 32 domestic violence, fair housing, and legal service organizations including:
“Studies also suggest that many women experiencing homelessness are survivors of domestic violence, even if it’s not the cause of their homelessness. One study in Massachusetts found that 92 percent of homeless women had experienced severe physical or sexual assault at some point in their lives, 63 percent had been victims of violence by an intimate partner, and 32 percent had been assaulted by their current or most recent partner. Such studies suggest a correlation between domestic violence and homelessness.
Survivors of domestic violence have both short- and long-term housing needs. Immediately, survivors require safe housing away from the abuser. Ultimately, the family requires access to safe, stable, affordable housing.
A strong investment in affordable housing is crucial to this population, so that the family or woman is able to leave the shelter system as quickly as possible without returning to the abuser. One key challenge facing providers serving survivors of domestic violence is that safety and confidentiality concerns may make it difficult to track this group.”