The Witness Relocation Program provides rental assistance in the form of Section 8 housing vouchers for the relocation of witnesses in connection with efforts to combat violent crimes that occur in and around public, Indian, and other HUD-assisted housing. Since its inception in 1996, HUD's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has used this program to successfully relocate hundreds of witnesses and their families throughout the United States.
The Witness Relocation Program is designed to offer protection to persons who are cooperating as witnesses in the government's efforts to combat violent crimes occurring in and around public, Indian, and other HUD-assisted housing. Law enforcement agencies, with the written concurrence of the appropriate prosecutorial entity, may request the emergency relocation of a witness (and their immediate family) that is assisting law enforcement in a criminal matter and fears retribution, or has been threatened as a result of the assistance and/or testimony provided.
The OIG facilitates the protection of witnesses by removing them and their immediate families from potential danger and relocating them to a secure area selected by the OIG in cooperation with the relevant federal, state, tribal, or local law enforcement agencies.
Witnesses to violent crimes occurring in or around public, Indian, or other HUD-assisted housing that cooperate with the relevant governmental law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies in their investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators are eligible for the program. The witness (and their immediate family) is not required to be a current resident of the aforementioned HUD-assisted housing in order to be considered eligible for the Witness Relocation Program, but must be otherwise eligible to receive Section 8 housing voucher assistance. Final determination of program eligibility is made by the OIG and HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing.
The Witness Relocation Program was funded and authorized by Title II of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-134, enacted April 26, 1996). The program has been funded under every HUD appropriations act since its inception.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161, enacted 12/26/07) designated $200 million in rental vouchers for all tenant protection activities, including Witness Relocation vouchers. The OIG requested approximately $324,000 of this funding to relocate witnesses and their families to housing in other localities.
For More Information:
General information about the Witness Relocation Program can be obtained from the Office of Legal Counsel at OIG Headquarters in Washington, DC at (202) 708-1613. If a person needs to report a crime or make a complaint that is related to the program, he or she may call the confidential OIG hotline toll free at 1 (800) 347-3735; use TDD at (202) 708-2451; or transmit the information via facsimile to (202) 708-4829. The person can also send unsecure electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.