Posted October 16, 2017 — When Lacey* moved with her 6-year-old daughter to a homeless shelter, she was encouraged by the shelter’s mission to help residents find housing and become self-sufficient.
Unfortunately, a shelter policy required staff to evict them when Lacey shared her history of abuse and her on-going fear of her former partner-even though he was incarcerated and unlikely to be released.
Only domestic violence survivors–not victims of any other crimes–were subjected to this policy, which did not assess the actual risk their abusers posed to shelter residents or staff. NHLA Fair Housing Attorney Victoria Horrock learned about the situation, and worked with Lacey to file a housing discrimination suit against the shelter. The resulting settlement should lead to shelters across the state changing their policies, which discriminate against women fleeing abuse, right when they need help most.
“It was not our intention to point fingers at this shelter,” Horrock said. “We believe, from what our peers in domestic violence crisis centers see, that many shelters across the state have similar policies. We should do all we can as a society to support a survivor who makes the brave choice to leave an abusive home, and these policies do exactly the opposite.
“Our client came forward to protect other survivors from facing this discrimination,” Horrock said, “and we are grateful to her for her bravery and to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for conciliating this agreement.”
- *This client requested anonymity.