The Law: Immigrants are Legally Eligible for Transitional Housing (February 22, 2017) [pdf]

Immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and human trafficking have been eligible for transitional housing historically. The legal right to access transitional housing programs and emergency shelters was first established as part of the welfare and immigration reform legislation in 1996. This right was reaffirmed in 2001 and again in 2016 by federal government agencies including HUD, DOJ, and HHS. Despite this fact some transitional housing programs continue to impose application requirements not required by federal law that impede immigrant and limited English proficient victim access to transitional housing programs necessary to protect life and safety. Many of the application requirements imposed by transitional housing programs immigrant survivors can prove that they meet using alternative forms of evidence from those typically requested by programs. This brochure provides a list of the types of evidence a victim advocate or attorney working with an immigrant victim can gather to prove that immigrant victims, in addition to being legally eligible, also meet program imposed requirements. Advocates and attorneys working with immigrant victims should help them gather any credible evidence to gain admission to transitional housing programs. If you are working with an immigrant victim and have suggestions on other types of evidence that can be used to meet the criteria discussed in this brochure please share them with us so we can add them as examples to this brochure by emailing us at