The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is issuing Fair Housing Act guidance on local 'nuisance ordinances' that may lead to housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence and other persons in need of emergency services.

HUD issued its Nuisance Guidance as the country marks the 22nd anniversary of the Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA). Through the VAWA 2013 reauthorization, protections have been expanded to nearly all HUD programs. Previously, only residents of public housing and Section 8 tenant-based and project-based programs were covered.

HUD's final Harassment Rule is titled Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices under the Fair Housing Act. HUD and courts have long held that harassment in housing or housing-related transactions on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status is prohibited under the Fair Housing Act. The final rule specifies how HUD will evaluate claims of "hostile environment" and "quid pro quo" harassment in both private and publicly-assisted housing.

HUD's Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Enforcement of Local Nuisance and Crime-Free Housing Ordinances Against Victims of Domestic Violence, Other Crime Victims, and Others Who Require Police or Emergency Servicesis intended to inform state and local governments, as well as private and public housing providers, as to how HUD will assess nuisance or crime-free housing ordinances, policies, or practices alleged to be discriminatory under the Fair Housing Act.

These local ordinances may be used to evict domestic violence survivors and others who seek police or emergency assistance.

-April Brown / U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

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