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Government News
Bill Would Subsidize Housing for Battered Women
Psychiatric News
Volume 37 Number 11 page 5-6
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Rep. Janice Schakowsky

Women fleeing their homes because of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking will have access to affordable housing if a bill sponsored by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.) becomes law. It is supported by more than 100 bipartisan cosponsors.

By subsidizing housing for victims for up to two years, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims’ Housing Act (HR 3752) would fill a gap between emergency shelters that have a 30-day residential limit and independent living.

Schakowsky testified at a Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee hearing in February that her legislation would help women and children escape the cycle of abuse by providing them with a stable home base. Her bill would provide grants totaling $50 million annually to qualified organizations. The funding would begin in Fiscal 2003 and end in Fiscal 2007.

"It is unacceptable that innocent women and children have no choice but to continue to face the violence at home because they have no place to go," said Schakowsky. She mentioned that 50 percent of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence. In addition, battered women and children are increasingly turning to emergency shelters at a time when the overall number of shelter beds is decreasing, according to a press release from Schakowsky’s office.

Several domestic violence victim groups have endorsed the bill. Juley Fulcher, public policy director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said in the press release, "We are reminded daily of the desperate need for transitional housing for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Emergency shelter is not enough to rebuild a life."

Lynn Rosenthal, executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said in the press release, "Lack of safe and affordable housing often keeps battered women trapped in abusive and dangerous relationships. This bill helps women move toward safety and self-sufficiency."

The secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development would award the grants to nonprofit housing organizations providing emergency, transitional, or permanent housing to low-income people or nonprofit social service organizations collaborating with qualified housing organizations.

The groups could use the funds to provide victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking with temporary and transitional housing or financial assistance for the victim’s first month’s rent and security deposit, according to Schakowsky’s statement.

The grant recipients also would be required to keep the victims’ identities confidential to protect them from being further abused. Emergency shelters already do this.

The text and status of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims’ Housing Act can be accessed on the Web at http://thomas.loc.gov by searching on "HR 3752" and clicking on "full display."

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Rep. Janice Schakowsky

Women fleeing their homes because of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking will have access to affordable housing if a bill sponsored by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.) becomes law. It is supported by more than 100 bipartisan cosponsors.

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