Our current housing and transportation systems are insufficient for the needs of survivors. Transitional and permanent housing are often unaffordable and fail to meet standards that make survivors feel safe and secure. Public transportation leaves many neighborhoods under-served or is unaffordable for many survivors. Government-funded programs receive too little funding and have eligibility criteria that are too narrow, leaving folks who are vulnerable at greater risk.
All survivors deserve access to housing and transportation that is affordable, safe, reliable, and maintains their dignity and discretion. This is especially true for Black survivors and survivors of color, low-income survivors, LGBTQIA+ survivors, undocumented survivors, and disabled survivors. Housing and transportation should be well-funded public goods, designed for those who need urgent and immediate services and shelter, and for those who have experienced violence in the past and are seeking ongoing support and healing therapies. This includes widespread access to housing that offers trauma-informed services (those trained in the specific emotional and physical needs of survivors). Housing and transportation services should be especially directed to serve survivors from marginalized communities.
WE ARE CALLING FOR
- Increased community investment in more safe and affordable housing for survivors, to reduce the length of time someone needs to stay in emergency and transitional shelters.
- Programs that include childcare, transportation, and language interpretation as part of housing services (especially in rural or under-served areas).
- Resources such as mental health support, social services, and crisis support that are free and available online or virtually accessible to survivors.
- Housing and transportation that are accessible and free from discrimination based on immigration status, criminal record, occupation, or accommodations for accessibility.
- Tenants’ rights that are structured to protect survivors from landlord misuse or abuse, undue evictions, or evictions by landlords based on the presumed likelihood of a survivor’s involvement in future violence.
- Public transportation that is reliable, affordable, and ADA-compliant, as well as on-demand transportation services that maintain safety, discretion, and privacy at all times.
POLICIES THAT MOVE US FORWARD
- Exploration of no strings attached direct cash transfers to help survivors support themselves and their families while building towards safety and financial security.
- Support the Rent Relief Act, which creates a new, refundable tax credit for households whose housing costs exceed 30% of their income, including rent and utilities, helping families to keep up with the rising cost of rent.
- Increased appropriations for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, the primary federal funding stream dedicated to the support of emergency shelter and services for survivors of domestic violence.
- Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, to strengthen legal remedies for survivors to stay safely housed or flee to permanent housing, including investment in the Transitional Housing Program to provide transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services to survivors, their children, and other dependents.
- Increased investment in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Continuum of Care Program to support those experiencing homelessness, including funding to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing trauma, and investing in the selfsufficiency of those experiencing homelessness.
- Increased investment in HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grants Program to assist people to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.
- Expansion of HUD’s programs to include 1) access to safe housing for survivors based on a need for psychological and emotional safety, or for recovery purposes and 2) to address sexual harassment and abuse by landlords and housing managers.