Violence Against Women Act
The Moline Housing Authority is an equal opportunities housing provider and as such we comply with VAWA.
The Rights of Domestic Violence Victims Living in Assisted Housing
Does VAWA protect me?
VAWA applies only to tenants in certain assisted housing programs:
- public housing
- Section 8 vouchers
- project-based Section 8
- Section 202 housing for the elderly
- Section 811 housing for people with disabilities
The law does not cover tenants who live in private housing with no rental assistance.
VAWA protects victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. It also covers the victim’s immediate family members, except for the abuser. You don’t have to be married to or living with the abuser to be covered by VAWA.
What rights does VAWA offer?
Rights for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking include:
- if you are applying for housing, you can’t be denied simply because you are a victim
- you can’t be evicted or lose your voucher based on violence against you
- acts of violence against you cannot be “serious or repeated violations” of your lease or “good cause” for evicting you or ending your voucher
What if I need to get the abuser out of the home?
If a member of your household uses violence against you, the housing authority or your landlord may evict the abuser alone, and let you and your family stay in the home.
What if I need to move to escape the abuse?
If you have a Section 8 voucher, VAWA states that the housing authority may permit you to move and keep your voucher, even if your lease has not ended. The housing authority may ask you to prove that you are moving because of violence.
VAWA does not cover emergency moves for public housing tenants. You can still ask the housing authority to transfer you to another unit. The housing authority may ask you to put your request in writing and to prove that you are moving for safety reasons.
How do I prove that I can use VAWA’s protections?
To see if you can use VAWA, the housing authority or your landlord may ask for information or “certification” showing that you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
There are three ways you can show that you are a victim:
- complete a certification form. The form will ask for your name, the name of your abuser, the abuser’s relationship to you, the date, time and place of the violence, and a description of the violence. To get the form, call the housing authority or a legal aid office.
- Provide a letter signed by a victim service provider, attorney, or medical professional who has helped you with the abuse. You must also sign this letter.
- Provide a police or court record, such as a restraining order.
The housing authority or your landlord must give you at least 14 business days (weekends and holidays do not count) to provide proof of the violence.
Can a housing provider share the information I provide about the abuse with others?
No. The housing authority or landlord cannot give the information you provide about the abuse to others. The information may be shared if you agree in writing, or if it is needed to evict the abuser from the housing.
Does this mean that a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking cannot be evicted at all?
No. You can still be evicted for serious or repeated lease violations that aren’t related to the abuse. The landlord or housing authority must hold you to the same standard as other tenants. If you receive any type of eviction notice, call a legal aid office immediately.
What can I do to enforce these rights?
If you believe your housing authority or landlord isn’t following VAWA, contact an attorney, fair housing agency, or domestic violence agency. They can help explain your rights and options.
Violence Against Women in Federally Funded Rental Assisted Housing
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2005 is an amended version of the 1994 VAWA which provides new protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. These protections include provisions protecting victims who live in public housing or who are receiving housing assistance under the federal housing voucher program. The information contained on this page is intended to inform you of your rights and responsibilities under VAWA.
The term ‘domestic violence’ includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
The term ‘dating violence’ means violence committed by a person:
- who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
- where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The length of the relationship,
- The type of relationship.
- The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.”
The term ‘stalking’ means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
- Fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
- Suffer substantial emotional distress.”
What Protections Are Provided by VAWA?
There are two areas of protection for those persons seeking or receiving assistance under the federally funded public housing program or voucher program.
- Denial of Assistance – The law provides that you cannot be denied assistance because you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking if you are otherwise qualified to receive such assistance.
- Termination of Tenancy or Assistance – The law further protects those who are currently receiving federal housing assistance from losing assistance or housing solely on the basis of their status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
In summary, VAWA prevents housing agencies and owners from considering actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking as a cause for terminating the tenancy, occupancy, or program assistance of the victim.
Such violence or stalking may not be considered:
- As a serious or repeated violation of the lease by the victim,
- As other good cause for terminating the tenancy or occupancy rights of the victim, or
- As criminal activity justifying the termination of the tenancy, occupancy rights, or program assistance of the victim.
What about the Perpetrator?
If the perpetrator is a member of the victim’s household, the agency administering the voucher or public housing programs has the authority to require the individual to leave the household as a condition of providing continued assistance to the remaining members of the family. Additionally, if state law allows, the housing agency has the authority to bifurcate a lease, or divide it into two parts to deal with family members who engage in criminal acts of physical violence against family members or others. Bifurcation would allow the housing agency or owner to take eviction or termination action against a perpetrator of physical violence without penalizing the victim.
What are the limitations of VAWA?
Housing agencies and owners retain the authority to terminate the tenancy, occupancy, or program assistance of a victim under either of the following conditions:
- The termination is for a lease violation premised on something other than an act of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking against the victim and the housing agency or owner is holding the victim to a standard no more “demanding” than the standard to which other tenants are held.
- The housing agency or owner can demonstrate an “actual and imminent threat to other tenants or those employed at or providing service to the property” if the tenancy, occupancy, or program assistance of the victim is not terminated.
Notice of Occupancy Rights under the Violence Against Women Act
To all Tenants and Applicants
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for victims:
- Of domestic violence,
- Dating violence,
- Sexual assault,
- Or stalking.
VAWA protections are not only available to women, but are available equally to all individuals regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the Federal agency that oversees that the Moline Housing Authority is in compliance with VAWA. This notice explains your rights under VAWA. A HUD-approved certification form is attached to this notice. You can fill out this form to show that you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and that you wish to use your rights under VAWA.”
Protection for Applicants
If you otherwise qualify for assistance under Moline Housing Authority, you cannot be denied admission or denied assistance because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Protection for Tenants
If you are receiving assistance from the Moline Housing Authority, you may not be denied assistance, terminated from participation, or be evicted from your rental housing because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Also, if you or an affiliated individual of yours is or has been the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking by a member of your household or any guest, you may not be denied rental assistance or occupancy rights under Moline Housing Authority solely on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Affiliated individual means your spouse, brothers, sisters, child, or a person to whom you stand in the place of a parent or guardian (for example, the affiliated individual is in your care, custody, or control); or any individual, tenant, or lawful occupant living in your household.
Removing the Abuser or Perpetrator from the Household
HP may divide (bifurcate) your lease in order to evict the individual or terminate the assistance of the individual who has engaged in criminal activity (the abuser or perpetrator) directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
If HP chooses to remove the abuser or perpetrator, HP may not take away the rights of eligible tenants to the unit or otherwise punish the remaining tenants. If the evicted abuser or perpetrator was the sole tenant to have established eligibility for assistance under the program, HP must allow the tenant who is or has been a victim and other household members to remain in the unit for a period of time, in order to establish eligibility under the program or under another HUD housing program covered by VAWA, or, find alternative housing.
In removing the abuser or perpetrator from the household, HP must follow Federal, State, and local eviction procedures. In order to divide a lease, HP may, but is not required to, ask you for documentation or certification of the incidences of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Moving to Another Unit
Upon your request, HP may permit you to move to another unit, subject to the availability of other units, and still keep your assistance. In order to approve a request, HP may ask you to provide documentation that you are requesting to move because of an incidence of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. If the request is a request for emergency transfer, the housing provider may ask you to submit a written request to fill out a form where you certify that you meet the criteria for an emergency transfer under VAWA.
The criteria are:
- You are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. If your housing provider does not already have documentation that you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, your housing provider may ask you for such documentation, as described in the documentation section below.
- You expressly request the emergency transfer. Your housing provider may choose to require that you submit a form, or may accept another written or oral request.
- You reasonably believe you are threatened with imminent harm from further violence if you remain in your current unit. This means you have a reason to fear that if you do not receive a transfer you would suffer violence in the very near future. OR You are a victim of sexual assault and the assault occurred on the premises during the 90-calendar-day period before you request a transfer. If you are a victim of sexual assault, then in addition to qualifying for an emergency transfer because you reasonably believe you are threatened with imminent harm from further violence if you remain in your unit, you may qualify for an emergency transfer if the sexual assault occurred on the premises of the property from which you are seeking your transfer, and that assault happened within the 90-calendar-day period before you expressly request the transfer.
HP will keep confidential requests for emergency transfers by victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and the location of any move by such victims and their families.
HP’s emergency transfer plan provides further information on emergency transfers, and HP must make a copy of its emergency transfer plan available to you if you ask to see it.
Documenting You Are or Have Been a Victim of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking
HP can, but is not required to, ask you to provide documentation to “certify” that you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Such request from HP must be in writing, and HP must give you at least 14 business days (Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays do not count) from the day you receive the request to provide the documentation. HP may, but does not have to, extend the deadline for the submission of documentation upon your request.
You can provide one of the following to HP as documentation. It is your choice which of the following to submit if HP asks you to provide documentation that you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- A complete HUD-approved certification form given to you by HP with this notice, that documents an incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The form will ask for your name, the date, time, and location of the incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and a description of the incident. The certification form provides for including the name of the abuser or perpetrator if the name of the abuser or perpetrator is known and is safe to provide.
- A record of a Federal, State, tribal, territorial, or local law enforcement agency, court, or administrative agency that documents the incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Examples of such records include police reports, protective orders, and restraining orders, among others.
- A statement, which you must sign, along with the signature of an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider, an attorney, a medical professional or a mental health professional (collectively, “professional”) from whom you sought assistance in addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or the effects of abuse, and with the professional selected by you attesting under penalty of perjury that he or she believes that the incident or incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking are grounds for protection.
- Any other statement or evidence that HP has agreed to accept.
If you fail or refuse to provide one of these documents within the 14 business days, HP does not have to provide you with the protections contained in this notice.
If HP receives conflicting evidence that an incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking has been committed (such as certification forms from two or more members of a household each claiming to be a victim and naming one or more of the other petitioning household members as the abuser or perpetrator), HP has the right to request that you provide third-party documentation within thirty 30 calendar days in order to resolve the conflict. If you fail or refuse to provide third-party documentation where there is conflicting evidence, HP does not have to provide you with the protections contained in this notice.
HP must keep confidential any information you provide related to the exercise of your rights under VAWA, including the fact that you are exercising your rights under VAWA.
HP must not allow any individual administering assistance or other services on behalf of HP (for example, employees and contractors) to have access to confidential information unless for reasons that specifically call for these individuals to have access to this information under applicable Federal, State, or local law.
HP must not enter your information into any shared database or disclose your information to any other entity or individual.
HP however, may disclose the information provided if:
- You give written permission to HP to release the information on a time limited basis.
- HP needs to use the information in an eviction or termination proceeding, such as to evict your abuser or perpetrator or terminate your abuser or perpetrator from assistance under this program.
- A law requires HP or your landlord to release the information.
VAWA does not limit HP’s duty to honor court orders about access to or control of the property. This includes orders issued to protect a victim and orders dividing property among household members in cases where a family breaks up.
Reasons a Tenant Eligible for Occupancy Rights Under VAWA May Be Evicted or Assistance May Be Terminated
You can be evicted and your assistance can be terminated for serious or repeated lease violations that are not related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against you. However, HP cannot hold tenants who have been victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking to a more demanding set of rules than it applies to tenants who have not been victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The protections described in this notice might not apply, and you could be evicted and your assistance terminated, if HP can demonstrate that not evicting you or terminating your assistance would present a real physical danger that:
- Would occur within an immediate time frame, and
- Could result in death or serious bodily harm to other tenants or those who work on the property.
If HP can demonstrate the above, HP should only terminate your assistance or evict you if there are no other actions that could be taken to reduce or eliminate the threat.
VAWA does not replace any Federal, State, or local law that provides greater protection for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
You may be entitled to additional housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking under other Federal laws, as well as under State and local laws.
Non-Compliance With the Requirements of This Notice
You may report a covered housing provider’s violations of these rights and seek additional assistance, if needed, by contacting or filing a complaint with Moline Housing Authority or HUD Chicago Regional Office (312) 353-5680.
For Additional Information
Help Regarding VAWA
HP must make a copy of HUD’s VAWA regulations available to you if you ask to see them.
For questions regarding VAWA, please contact Moline Housing Authority.
Help Regarding an Abusive Relationship
For help regarding an abusive relationship, you may
- call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233
- or, for persons with hearing impairments, 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
- You may also contact Christian Care Domestic Violence Shelter at (309) 788-2273,
- Family Resources Domestic Violence Shelter at (563) 326-9191,
- Domestic Violence Advocacy Programs at (563) 322-1200 or (309) 797-6534.
Help Regarding Stalking
For tenants who are or have been victims of stalking seeking help may visit the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center.
Victims of stalking seeking help may contact:
- 911 or
- Domestic Violence Advocacy Programs (563) 322-1200 or (309) 797-6534.
Help Regarding Sexual Assault
For help regarding sexual assault, you may contact:
- 911 or
- Genesis Health Crisis Line at (563) 421-2975.