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Home Sweet Home: Domestic Violence and Homelessness in the Green Mountain State

Home Sweet Home: Domestic Violence and Homelessness in the Green Mountain State

Amanda Vega

Half of all homeless women reported domestic violence (DV) as the cause of their homelessness.[1] There is a misconception that DV survivors are not at risk of becoming homeless.[2] This misconception stems from the idea that survivors often have a choice between being homeless or remaining with an abusive partner.[3]

Often, DV survivors go undetected because they tend to keep their abuse within the confines of the house.[4] Additionally, survivors with children hide abuse from the world for a fear child services will become involved.[5] Nearly one-in-three women in the United States experience DV in their lifetime and roughly the same amount experience extreme DV.[6] DV is a leading cause of murders of women in Vermont.[7] Furthermore, DV accounts for a third of Vermont’s homicides and a combined 21% of DV felonies and misdemeanors.[8]

Part I of this Note will discuss how DV survivors are discriminated against by landlords in Vermont, and how survivors navigate the Vermont Housing Market given all the barriers.[9] Part II of this Note will explain how housing authority programs, in some ways, shield survivors from housing discrimination.[10] Specifically, Part II will focus on the Section 8 and Vermont’s transitional housing preferences.[11] Part III will discuss Vermont’s transitional housing programs and how these programs benefit survivors.[12] Further, Part III will highlight how Vermont shelters—a temporary and short term housing solution— are being relied on for long-term housing support.[13] Part IV will recommend changes to Vermont statutes, in an effort to provide displaced DV survivors with long-term housing.[14]  Furthermore, Part IV will recommend Vermont’s housing programs pair with existing housing organizations.[15]

[1]  Domestic Violence Statistics, Domestic Shelters, https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/faq/domestic-violence-statistics (last visited Apr. 17, 2019).

[2]Chiquita Rollins., et al., Domestic Violence House First, Housing: Safety, Stability, and Dignity for Survivors of Domestic Violence 2 (2013).

[3]Id. at 3.

[4]Id. at 2.

[5]Id.

[6]Nat’l Ctr. For Injury Prevention and Control, Ctr. For Disease Control and Prevention, National Intimate Partner And Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report 43 (2011), https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf.

[7]Id.                                                                                 

[8]See id. (explaining how DV has accounted for nearly half of all adult homicides in Vermont since 1994) Furthermore, in 2016, DV accounted for 15% of all Vermont’s felonies and 6% of all misdemeanors. Id. at 5. 

[9]Infra Part I (discussing how DV survivors are discriminated against in the housing market).

[10]Infra Part II.

[11]Id.  

[12]Infra Part III.

[13]Id.  

[14]Infra Part IV.

[15]Id.

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