For Immediate Release
October 28, 2021
Arthur Bryant 202-225-1621
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) and Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), members of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, re-introduced the Help End Abusive Living Situations (HEALS) Act, legislation to assist survivors of domestic violence to rapidly secure safe housing situations.
“Survivors of intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual assault often face volatile situations where they find themselves without a stable or safe place to live,” said Rep. Wagner. “Without safe housing options, victims can fall back into the cycle of violence they are desperately trying to escape. Many victims are also without a support network while they work to rebuild their lives, and these housing resources can give them the support they need to break the cycle of abuse. This legislation will help provide a vital lifeline to victims as they fight for independence and safety.”
“As a former law enforcement officer, some of the very first calls I responded to involved domestic violence. I’ve seen firsthand the damage this uniquely heinous kind of violence can do to families and to survivors.” said Rep. O’Halleran. “The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously exacerbated domestic violence incidents and shelters have struggled to keep up. Now more than ever, we must ensure survivors have access to safe housing options. No person experiencing DV should be forced to stay in a dangerous situation because they do not have housing elsewhere. This bill will empower those seeking to leave abusive situations and aid them in doing so.”
The HEALS Act directs the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to prioritize funding for transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The legislation also establishes standards in evaluating current resources available to survivors and instructs HUD to research and identify new housing options that may be viable for survivors of domestic violence.
Support for HEALS:
The HEALS Act is endorsed by the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
“On behalf of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, we would like to thank you for leadership in introducing the Help End Abusive Living Environments (HEALS) Act. This Act will undoubtedly help survivors to secure safe housing, which as you know, is a vital component of a survivor’s pathway to healing. The HEALS Act will eliminate barriers survivors often face in securing and maintaining housing. This is crucial and positive progress on a very important issue, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Arizona will greatly benefit from this legislation.” – Jenna Panas, Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
“Housing is safety for survivors. It is essential that our government designate resources to provide survivor-centered housing so that all survivors can find safety when fleeing danger.” – Monica McLaughlin, Director of Public Policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence
Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-2)
2350 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515