Your housing situation may be in turmoil if you are fleeing an abusive relationship.
Depending on your state law, you may be able to address these critical needs during your protective order hearing. You or your attorney can ask the judge to order your abuser to:
vacate the residence
pay your rent (including first and last month’s if you need to move because of the abuse)
pay the mortgage/utilities for a period of time, even if the abuser is court-ordered to vacate the residence
Allowing an abuser to stay in the residence forces a battered woman into potential homelessness, and also sends the message that the abuser is being rewarded for his violent acts. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, domestic violence has been identified as a primary cause of homelessness - including victims who choose to leave their homes and relocate for fear that their abusers will not stay away from them and their children. Unfortunately, many shelters do not permit women to stay longer than one month due to a high demand for space. Scare shelter resources combined with lack of short-term emergency loans for transitional housing means that many women and children are left with no place to go.
There are also many instances of battered women being evicted from their public housing apartments due to the violence of their abusers- an impact of federal and state “Zero Tolerance” laws that were originally designed to address drugs and crime in public housing. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) now prohibits public housing agencies (PHAs) from denying housing because an applicant is a victim of domestic violence or from evicting a victim because of her abuser’s violent actions.
Learn more about eviction and other housing issues related to domestic violence in these articles:
Housing Eviction and Domestic Violence
Home Ownership and Domestic Violence
Learn more about domestic violence and housing.
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