Enacts the "survivor's accessing fair and equitable (SAFE) housing act"; directs the New York City Housing Authority to establish alternative requirements for domestic violence victim applications for N-1 priority in housing.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public housing law, in relation to directing the New York City Housing Authority establish alternative requirements for the qualification of domestic violence victims for N-1 priority access to housing accommodations
PURPOSE: Directs the New York City Housing Authority to establish alternative requirements for domestic violence victim applications for N-1 priority housing.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 sets forth the bill's short title: The Survivor's Accessing Fair and Equitable ("SAFE") Housing Act.
Section 2 creates anew, alternative application procedure for the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) N-1 Priority Housing Program for victims of domestic violence. The form is based on the No Violence Again (NoVA) screening form used for temporary emergency DV housing, supplemented by sworn attestations from the applicant and qualified service provider.
Section 3 establishes the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: The single best way to give meaningful, long-term help to the survivors of domestic violence and their families is to provide them with secure, permanent housing away from their abusers. Studies demonstrate that obtaining shelter services leads to 60-70% reduction in incidence and severity of re-assault. In fact, shelter services led to a more significant reduction in severe reassault than seeking court or law enforcement protection, or moving to a new location. It has also been clearly demonstrated that victims often return to their barterers when a viable option for permanent housing cannot be found, yet private landlords regularly turn away individuals who have orders of protection or other indications of domestic violence.
The New York City Housing Authority's N-1 Priority Housing program is intended to provide permanent housing for those individuals in the most serious and imminent danger of repeated abuse. Unfortunately, the existing documentation requirements for entry into the program shut out many individuals who are most in need and serve to create a perverse incentive where victims must put themselves back into harm's way in order to qualify.
Currently, N-1 applicants must provide two pieces of official documentation (such as a police report or order of protection) arising out of two separate incidents of abuse. The desire to use limited resources on those in the greatest danger is understandable; however, on average, domestic violence is not reported for the first time until the seventh incident of physical abuse and there is perhaps no more dangerous time to return to one's abuser than
directly after making a police report or taking out an order of protection. Consequently, the current requirements do not serve their intended purpose and may force survivors of repeated abuse to put themselves in grave, additional, and unnecessary danger in order to obtain housing.
Additionally, many victims of domestic violence, primarily from minority and immigrant communities, are unwilling or unable to go through the official channels currently required. There are any number of reasons those with the most desperate need may not be able to qualify. Applicants may be undocumented and fear adverse immigration consequences from any police contact; they may not have reported the most serious incidents for fear of retribution and find themselves with insufficient official documentation; they may have fled their abusers before filing a second report; they may have refused to cooperate with police under duress, intimidation or for fear of escalating the danger to themselves or their children. Whatever the individual reasons may be, far too many survivors cannot meet the current requirements for reasons that have nothing to do with the severity of the abuse they have suffered or the imminence or seriousness of the danger they face.
This legislation, the Survivors Accessing Fair and Equitable ("SAFE) Housing Act, creates a new way for victims to apply for N-1 housing without eliminating the current pathway for those who qualify. This new application is a modified version of the No Violence Again (NoVA) emergency housing form for temporary shelters, supplemented by sworn attestations from the applicant and a qualified domestic violence service provider saying that the applicant meets NYCHA's past abuse and future danger requirements. This legislation will let the experts dictate when emergency housing is necessary and help ensure that endangered victims do not fall through the cracks on technicalities.
Domestic violence is a crime of extraordinary magnitude which affects all New Yorkers across geographic, social and demographic lines. As a society, we owe it to those survivors who overcome overwhelming odds and break free from the cycle of violence to provide whatever help and protection is in our power without erecting bureaucratic road blocks in their paths. This commonsense legislation will make that process more logical and inclusive while maintaining the original intent of the N-1 program.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.7851
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 124 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. PERALTA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development AN ACT to amend the public housing law, in relation to directing the New York City Housing Authority establish alternative requirements for the qualification of domestic violence victims for N-1 priority access to housing accommodations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "survivor's accessing fair and equitable (SAFE) housing act". S 2. Section 402 of the public housing law is amended by adding a new subdivision 6-a to read as follows: 6-A. THE AUTHORITY SHALL ESTABLISH, WITHIN SIXTY DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION, AN ADDITIONAL ALTERNATIVE APPLICATION AND REQUIREMENTS THEREFOR FOR GRANTING N-1 PRIORITY FOR ACCESS TO AUTHORITY HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS TO PERSONS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. SUCH REQUIREMENTS SHALL: A. BE BASED UPON THE NO VIOLENCE AGAIN SCREENING FORM ESTABLISHED BY THE HUMAN RESOURCES ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, PROVIDED THAT SUCH FORM MAY BE SUPERFICIALLY ALTERED BY THE AUTHORITY FOR USE IN THE N-1 PRIORITY HOUSING PROGRAM; B. NOT REQUIRE SUBMISSION OF ANY ADDITIONAL, OUTSIDE DOCUMENTATION NOT INCLUDED IN THE NO VIOLENCE AGAIN SCREENING FORM, EXCEPT THE SWORN ATTESTATIONS OF THE APPLICANT AND SERVICE PROVIDER REQUIRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPHS E, F AND G OF THIS SUBDIVISION; C. NOT BE CONTINGENT UPON ANY ADDITIONAL QUANTITATIVE OR QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OR RATING OF THE CONTENTS OF THE MODIFIED NO VIOLENCE AGAIN SCREENING FORM BY THE AUTHORITY;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00309-01-3 S. 124 2
D. PROVIDE THAT THE APPLICATION AND REQUIREMENTS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE AN ALTERNATIVE, EQUAL MEANS, IN ADDITION TO, NOT AS A REPLACEMENT OF ANY OTHER MEANS ESTABLISHED BY THE AUTHORI- TY, FOR GRANTING N-1 PRIORITY FOR ACCESS TO AUTHORITY HOUSING ACCOMMO- DATIONS TO PERSONS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; E. REQUIRE THE APPLICANT TO SWEAR, UNDER THE PENALTY OF PERJURY, THAT HE OR SHE HAS SUFFERED SERIOUS OR REPEATED ABUSE FROM A FAMILY MEMBER, OR A PERSON HE OR SHE HAD OR CONTINUES TO HAVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP, AND AS THE RESULT OF SUCH ABUSE, THE APPLICANT HAS SUFFERED ACTUAL PHYS- ICAL INJURY OR THE THREAT OF PHYSICAL INJURY, AND HE OR SHE (I) WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER ABUSE IF THE APPLICANT CONTINUES TO LIVE IN HIS OR HER CURRENT RESIDENCE, OR (II) HAS LEFT HIS OR HER RESIDENCE DUE TO ABUSE AND IS NOT LIVING IN STANDARD PERMANENT REPLACEMENT HOUSING; F. REQUIRE ATTESTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE PROVIDERS TO SWEAR, UNDER THE PENALTY OF PERJURY, THAT IN HIS OR HER PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT, BASED ON DUE DILIGENCE, THAT AN APPLICANT HAS SUFFERED SERIOUS OR REPEATED ABUSE FROM A FAMILY MEMBER, OR A PERSON WITH WHOM THE APPLICANT HAD OR CONTINUES TO HAVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP, AND AS A RESULT OF SUCH ABUSE, THE APPLICANT HAS SUFFERED ACTUAL PHYSICAL INJURY OR THE THREAT OF PHYSICAL INJURY, AND SUCH APPLICANT IS AT A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF FURTHER ABUSE WITHOUT ACCESS TO SAFE, PERMANENT HOUSING; AND G. REQUIRE EACH ATTESTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE PROVIDER TO SWEAR, UNDER THE PENALTY OF PERJURY, THAT HE OR SHE IS A MEMBER OR EMPLOYEE OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT RECEIVES CITY OF NEW YORK, STATE OR FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE PROVISION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES. PROVIDED, THAT, ANY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE PROVIDER OR OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES PROVIDER, WHICH IS NOT SO FUNDED, MAY APPLY TO THE APPLICATIONS DIVISION OF THE AUTHORITY FOR AUTHORIZATION TO ACT AS AN ATTESTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE PROVIDER ON N-1 PRIORITY APPLICATIONS. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.