Opportunity is Knocking: Expanding Housing Access for Survivors

July 22, 2021
| Khaila Montgomery, Research and Data Collection Analyst, OTIP and Alexis Polen, Human Trafficking Regional Liaison, OTIP
Mother holding young son outside home

For decades, advocates with lived and professional experience have called for increased access to safe and affordable housing for individuals and families impacted by human trafficking. The Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program, authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, presents an opportunity to answer those calls for access to help more households. Through the EHV Program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is allocating almost 70,000 EHV Vouchers to be administered through local public housing authorities across the United States (U.S.), to include Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The EHV Program specifies that vouchers are available to people who are fleeing or attempting to flee any of the following:

  • domestic violence
  • dating violence
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • human trafficking

HUD now requires public housing authorities to partner with local Continuums of Care or directly with victim service providers to administer the EHV Program. Continuums of Care create and manage a coordinated entry system to connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness with services and housing opportunities like rapid rehousing, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing.

This program prioritizes families currently served by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Victim service provider organizations within ACF’s network, including grantees, are needed to administer the program and can both contribute and benefit from these collaborations. Service providers can establish and strengthen their relationships with public housing authorities by joining their local Continuum of Care. They can also build pathways to housing for their clients that extend beyond implementation of the EHV Program.

Safe and affordable housing in resourced neighborhoods can provide critical access to employment opportunities, education, healthy food options, and health care. It can reduce exposure to community violence and the risk for exploitation, including human trafficking. Housing stability provides a foundation upon which individuals and families can build wealth for themselves, their children and future generations. While the EHV Program is just one resource providing people with access to affordable housing, it presents an opportunity to advocate on behalf of and partner with the communities we serve to build a more equitable future.

For more information on the EHV Program and how to join a Continuum of Care, please visit https://www.hud.gov/ehv Visit disclaimer page.

Other federally-funded resources on housing for survivors of human trafficking and their families:

HUD Resources on EHVs Associated with the American Rescue Plan Act 

HHS Resources on Housing and Economic Mobility 

DOJ Resources on Housing for Human Trafficking Survivors 


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