Thursday, June 19, 2014

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOUSING

From an email from the Empire Justice Center:

"You can help make sure that domestic violence victims and victims of crime are not forced to choose between seeking desperately needed police assistance or losing their housing.  

How?  By taking one minute to send a message to the New York State Senate in support of one of our top priority domestic violence bills (S.6924). 

How will this bill help victims of domestic violence and other crimes?  The bill will address the growth of “nuisance ordinances” across New York State and its negative effect the can have.  Many times, municipalities pass ordinances that will designate a property as a “nuisance” in the event of excessive calls for police assistance or alleged criminal activity.  While the laws may be well-intentioned, they tend to be overbroad and have an extremely detrimental impact on domestic violence and crime victims, as landlords and property owners are pressured to “abate the nuisance” or face stiff penalties.  Consequently, victims are fearful they will face eviction, if they call the police for protection from their abuser. 

Why does this matter?  Domestic violence victims in particular must make the difficult choice between seeking protection from their abuser or maintaining adequate housing for their families. This bill will aid municipalities, by ensuring that the enforcement of local laws does not inadvertently penalize crime victims or run afoul of existing constitutional, federal and state protections. It will also help them promote quiet enjoyment in their communities and address any criminal activity and/or independent lease violations."

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