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A Quick Guide to SB 174: The Louisiana Violence Against Women Act

Posted on 25. Jun, 2015 by

• 75% of homeless adults in Louisiana report being victims of domestic violence.

• One of the largest challenges facing survivors is finding and keeping safe, 
stable housing.

• Nearly 1 in 3 residents in Louisiana domestic violence shelters reported being evicted because of the actions of their abusers.

The Louisiana Violence Against Women Act, or Senate Bill 174, will become law on August 1st, 2015. This historic bill was passed through collaboration among housing advocates, domestic violence service providers, and housing providers who believe that survivors should never have to choose between safety from abuse and a safe place to live.

We at the Fair Housing Action Center look forward to continuing to work with domestic violence service providers around the state to make sure that the protections provided by SB 174 are implemented as intended to keep survivors safe and in their homes.

Key protections created by the law:

blue houseAnyone in need of emergency assistance can contact police without penalty.

Why it matters: Lease agreements often state that a single police visit is grounds for eviction. No one should hesitate to call emergency assistance when they need it.


blue houseSurvivors can no longer be evicted because of the violence of their abuser.

Why it matters: Surveys of domestic violence shelter residents found that 1 in 3 survivors were there because they’d been evicted due to the actions of an abuser, regardless of whether the abuser lived on the property. In Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, that number goes above 50%. Because most shelters are at capacity and have to turn away survivors, evictions are a direct cause of homelessness among survivors.

blue houseSurvivors can no longer be denied housing solely on the basis of past abuse.

Why it matters: Shelters report that when a domestic violence shelter is the last known address, survivors have trouble securing housing. If a survivor meets all the requirements of tenancy, then she should not be denied a place to live solely because she’s been the victim of abuse.

blue houseSurvivors can now terminate leases early and move if they need to.

Why it’s important: Survivors seeking to flee abusers can leave when they need to without forfeiting a deposit or otherwise being penalized for a necessary move.

Note: SB 174 defines “eviction” as a notice to vacate, non-renewal of a month-to-month lease, or court eviction. This is crucial, as most “evictions” in Louisiana are informal and never go through the courts.

Louisiana’s Violence Against Women Act is an incredible win for Louisiana women.  But our work is not done. Click to learn how we can ensure that this law will be implemented as intended to keep survivors in their homes.

 

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