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HUD No. 24-059
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
March 21, 2024

HUD Releases First-of-its-Kind Report to Congress on the Housing Needs of Survivors of Human Trafficking

Department provides assessment of housing needs for trafficking survivors experiencing homelessness or housing instability

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a report that assesses the availability and accessibility of housing and services for individuals experiencing homelessness or housing instability who are survivors of trafficking or at risk of being trafficked.

“This report confirms what we at HUD know well: we cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to affordable housing,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Thanks to this critical assessment, we will know more about how to better provide housing resources to survivors of human trafficking who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability.”

“Under the leadership of Secretary Fudge and the Biden-Harris Administration, we are centering the housing needs of survivors of human trafficking,” said Karlo Ng, HUD’s Director on Gender-based Violence Prevention and Equity. “This study provides vital insights from survivors of labor and sex trafficking that will inform our efforts to provide programs and services that address their needs.”

The report, titled “Housing Needs of Survivors of Human Trafficking Study,” was submitted in response to Section 606 of the 2022 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that required HUD to examine approaches to outreach and engagement with survivors, and methods of assessing their needs; the availability of homelessness and housing services; policies and procedures that impact access to mainstream housing and services; barriers to fair housing; and best practices in housing and service delivery.

The report draws from more than 18 months of intensive stakeholder engagement, coordination, and collaboration. Federal partners, including the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, and offices throughout the U.S Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helped shape the approach to the research and informed key findings. Throughout the research process, the study team sought to center the experiences of survivors and service providers. Many of the most impactful and illuminating findings come directly from survivors of sex and labor trafficking, as well as service providers on the front lines of housing, homeless assistance, victim services, and anti-trafficking programs.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, HUD has worked to reduce barriers to accessing housing, expand rental assistance, and root out discrimination in housing – all of which are imperative to serve survivors. This includes publishing an action plan to remove unnecessary barriers to housing for people with criminal records, ensuring that positive rental history plays a greater role in determining creditworthiness when trying to obtain a home loan, and issuing a record 100,000 new vouchers in three years. At the same time, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is focused on rooting out harmful discrimination and bias in housing, ensuring HUD faithfully fulfills the promise of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

The report’s principal findings include:

  • It is essential for housing and service providers to build trust to understand survivors’ needs and connect them with appropriate services when conducting outreach and engagement. Housing providers can improve access by partnering with local organizations that have built trust within their communities.
  • The demand for most forms of housing assistance, including those specifically meant for survivors, is far greater than the resources available. Other policies, like prioritization of specific groups and age limits, or lack of necessary services can further limit survivors’ access to these resources.
  • The systems and programs providing housing assistance and services are often complex and disconnected from each other. This makes them difficult for survivors to navigate and creates the risk of retraumatizing survivors through repeated screening and intake processes.
  • Documentation requirements, criminal records, credit issues, lack of or poor rental history, or immigration status requirements can present barriers for survivors seeking to rent housing on the private market using a rental subsidy.
  • Survivors face discrimination in numerous ways, including based on being members of a protected class. Discrimination and exploitative behavior by housing providers create barriers to accessing and maintaining safe housing, even when housing assistance is available.
  • Program models that most successfully serve survivors are those that are trauma-informed and survivor-centered. Survivors have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and needs, and programs are more successful when they have the flexibility to serve these individual needs.

For more information, see HUD’s VAWA site, our fact sheet, and the full report.


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