DV victims & housing opportunities bill under Sen Jose Peralta

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 1 in 4 women will be affected by intimate partner violence. I will posting a resource/article each day--or attempting to, anyways. 

Domestic Violence Victims Would Have More Housing Opportuntiies Under State Sen Jose Peralta Bill

BY KEN LOVETT

Here is a story I had today on the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

A Queens state senator wants to make it easier for domestic violence victims to find affordable, permanent housing.

Sen. Jose Peralta introduced a bill Friday requiring the New York City Housing Authority to give priority for emergency housing to a wider range of victims.

Under NYCHA’s current program, priority is given to those who can prove through police, court or hospital documents that they were abused on at least two occasions.

The Democrat’s bill would require victims to have suffered abuse in just a single incident. It would also create an additional option for documenting it. In addition to accepting police or court documentation, NYCHA would also be required to give someone priority if a qualified domestic violence service provider gives a sworn statement demonstrating need.

“The way the system works now, victims have to go back to their abusers and subject themselves to additional violence in order to get access to a safe haven,” Peralta said. “What this bill says is that victims shouldn’t have to risk their lives to get help they desperately need and deserve.”

A Housing Authority representative wouldn’t comment on the bill or provide statistics on how many domestic violence victims have been given priority for emergency housing.

Tobi Erner, a domestic violence social worker at Queens Legal Services, said the lack of safe, affordable, permanent housing is one of the biggest impediments victims face in their effort to escape an abusive environment.

“Sen. Peralta’s proposal will enable survivors to be discreetly screened and vetted by a qualified domestic violence service provider in order to access safe housing, rather than be forced to enter into litigation with their abuser or file a criminal complaint as a prerequisite to getting help,” Erner said.

Catherine Trapani, of New Destiny Housing Corp., said that current requirements “are not a good measure of risk, since 72% of residents in emergency shelters do not qualify for NYCHA’s priority program,” despite a social service agency having deemed them to be in imminent danger.

Trapani said that 80% of domestic violence victims in city shelters on an emergency basis have no safe, permanent housing options.