The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (VAWA), as reauthorized effective immediately, is now known as VAWA 2013. This Act covers both the public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs, if applicable, administered by public housing authorities. VAWA 2013 expanded these protections to cover tax credit programs, too. The State of North Carolina also has protections that cover all housing types, not just federally assisted housing. VAWA provides protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assaults to prevent them from losing housing as a result of being a victim (hereafter referred to collectively as "domestic violence"). This protection also extends to immediate family or other individuals residing in the household. Immediate family is defined as a spouse, parent, brother, sister or child of the victim, or an individual to whom that person stands in loco parentis; or any other person residing in the unit that is in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.
In 2006, Pembroke Housing Authority (PHA) mailed or hand delivered notification to all HCV households and public housing addresses to inform them of the protections provided under VAWA. Since that time, PHA has continued to inform new move-ins to public housing to make them aware of the VAWA protections. PHA posts information in management offices and waiting rooms to make housing participants and applicants aware of their option to seek protections if they are victims of domestic violence.
PHA strictly enforces its lease agreement in areas of criminal activity, disruptions to the neighborhood, and property damage. In most cases, PHA does not know if a person is a victim of domestic violence unless the victim reports this to the PHA. It is the obligation of the victim, applicant, or victim's advocate to make this status known to PHA. At any time, it is made known to PHA that a participant or applicant is a victim of domestic violence, PHA will pause its negative action to allow the victim the time needed to provide documentation of the abuse.
Documentation of Domestic Violence
PHA will provide, in writing, HUD form 50066 to be completed by the victim within 14 business days or the victim may choose to submit third party documentation. Third party documentation may include local law enforcement records, documentation signed by the victim and an employee, agent of a victim service provider, an attorney, medical or mental health professional from which the victim has sought assistance. The professional attests under penalty of perjury (28 U.S.C. 1746) that he or she believes the incidence of domestic violence is grounds for protection under VAWA regulations. If the victim does not return the HUD 50066 or the third party verification within 14 business days or secure an extension from PHA, the victim cannot be assured of receiving VAWA protections. Once the HUD form or third party verification is provided, PHA will not seek additional evidence from the victim. All of the information will be treated confidentially and will not be shared with any other entity or individual.
Assistance for Victims
Each situation is different and victims of domestic violence will be assisted on a case by case basis, depending on the individual circumstances. The following are some of the actions PHA may take.
Grounds for Eviction and/or Termination of Assistance
Nothing in this policy may be construed to limit the authority of PHA to terminate housing assistance to any tenant or lawful occupant if PHA can demonstrate an actual and imminent threat to other tenants, PHA employees, or others providing services to the public housing or property. Actual and imminent threat consists of a physical danger that is real, would occur within an immediate time frame, and could result in death or bodily harm. The factors that will be considered include: the duration of the risk, the nature and severity of the potential harm, and the likelihood that the potential harm will occur. As is the case with all terminations of assistance, the affected family will have the option of asking for a grievance or an informal hearing if they disagree with the termination.
ATTENTION VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT OR STALKING
If you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking you have legal protections under both state and federal statutes. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) prevents a victim from losing housing due to being a victim of abuse. However, in order to receive these protections the victim must report the issue to their landlord. Police reports or certifications from the victim or service provider may be provided. VAWA requires this information to be handled in a private and confidential manner. If the abuse is not reported the housing provider may treat police calls as criminal activity and pursue ease termination.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking the following resources are available to provide assistance.
Southeastern Family Violence Center - Main number 910-739-8622 located at 108 W 9th Street, Lumberton, NC 28358.
1-800-742-7794 Free. Confidential. 24/7
www.southeasternfamilyviolencecenter.org (For your safety this site offers to help you remove any history of your use of this site.)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Rape Crisis Center of Robeson County
Main Number 910-739-6278
Located at 212 N. Chestnut Street, Lumberton, NC 28359-1564
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Other Agencies for Assistance
Legal Aid North Carolina of Robeson County
North Carolina Legal Aid