Reps. O'Halleran and Poe Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Victims of Abuse

September 7, 2018
Press Release

Washington D.C. – This week, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), member of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, and Co-Chairman of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, and Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced the Helping End Abusive Living Situations (HEALS) Act. This bipartisan piece of legislation will aid victims in their search for a home, as well as provide the required recovery resources.

“As a former law enforcement officer, I often saw survivors of domestic violence in desperate need of safe housing and support services. Victims of this abuse often face homelessness and housing insecurity at disproportionately higher rates than other demographics,” said Congressman O’Halleran. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure survivors receive safe, confidential accommodations and support resources as they recover from their traumatic experiences and transition into a new life.”

“As a former criminal court judge and prosecutor, I saw firsthand how difficult it was for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault to find the resources necessary to recover and rebuild their lives," said Congressman Poe. "One of the most critical resources needed by all victims is a safe place to live. The journey to survivorship begins in a secure and stable home environment. In order to help provide this, I am introducing the Helping End Abusive Living Situations (HEALS) Act. This bill will ensure that survivors have the safe home they need and the services necessary to ensure their recovery.”

The HEALS Act:

  1. Prioritizes funding for domestic violence victims’ transitional housing
  2. Increases flexibility in transitional housing programs in communities so that victims can get back on their feet
  3. Directs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to research more housing options to support victims of domestic violence.

The HEALS Act is the House counterpart of the Senate bill of the same name introduced by Sens. Heitkamp (D-ND) and John Cornyn (R-TX).