A recent agreement between a Concord homeless shelter and the federal government could help end discrimination against domestic violence survivors who face homelessness.
The settlement includes the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Friends Program in Concord, and a female survivor of domestic violence.
In May, 2016, the woman stayed at Friends’ Emergency Housing in Concord. When she disclosed to staff that she had recently survived domestic violence, the homeless shelter requested she leave, citing policy: the shelter said it did not have the necessary security measures in place to protect against potential perpetrators. (Read the letter she received below.)
Victoria Horrock, a lawyer with New Hampshire Legal Assistance, says the settlement means this shelter will have to change its policies. Additionally, she said, “It’s our hope that other shelters across the state will examine their own policies to make sure they’re not placing increased burdens on vulnerable women at this time of most desperate need.”
Legal Assistance argued the policy banning recent domestic violence survivors violates the Fair Housing Act. The plaintiff received a $5000 settlement from the shelter. According to Horrock, the funds were used to secure housing.
Read the letter the woman received asking her to leave the shelter: