State Housing Commission approves Treasurer Zweifel’s proposal to strengthen protection for survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking
New policy provides more safe and stable housing for survivors
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (ZWY-ful) today praised the Missouri Housing Development Commission for adopting a new policy he requested earlier this year which specifically includes survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking in the definition of special needs populations. The change will more easily allow for the development of housing which addresses the unique needs of these survivors.
“One of the most effective ways to offer protection and assistance to victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking is through safe, stable long-term housing,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “For women and children trying to escape a potentially deadly situation and rebuild their lives, reliable housing is absolutely essential. I am grateful to the state housing commission for taking this important step in protecting some of the most vulnerable among us.”
Treasurer Zweifel sent a letter to the commission in April requesting that survivors of domestic violence be added to the definition of special needs population. Previously, the definition included individuals who are physically, emotionally, or mentally impaired or suffer from mental illness; developmentally disabled; homeless; or a youth aging out of foster care. As a result of a proposal developed by Treasurer Zweifel and passed by the state housing commission in 2011, one third of state and federal housing tax credits are set aside for projects which contain units for the specials needs populations, which now includes survivors of domestic abuse and sex trafficking.
“The numbers are staggering,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “Cases of violence against women and children in the home have been on the rise, and we cannot begin to address the problem without providing resources for victims to rebuild their lives. Long-term housing solutions will help serve their needs beyond stays at overcrowded shelters. This policy shift will open up a conversation between developers and advocates and bring much needed attention to a critical issue.”
The state housing commission also approved several measures which address housing concentration issues. These measures were proposed following Treasurer Zweifel’s December 2014 letter requesting the state housing commission undertake a review of its policies and procedures that analyze the need for housing and the existing density of low-income and subsidized housing in Missouri.