Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) is one of five co-sponsors of a new bill aimed to help domestic violence survivors. The bill, designated HR 5184, is known popularly as the “Help End Abusive Living Situations” (HEALS) Act of 2019. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Arizona) introduced the bill on Nov. 19.
“The HEALS Act of 2019 addresses the shortage of resources for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” states a one-page summary of the bill given out by Rouda’s office. “This bill directs HUD in giving equal consideration to transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing projects for survivors, and establishes standards in evaluating the resources available to survivors and survivor-focused programs.”
Though the eight-page legislation is billed as “bipartisan,” just one of the five co-sponsors is a Republican (that would be Rep. Ann Wagner of Michigan). In addition to Rouda, Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) and Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Florida) also co-sponsored the bill.
“This bipartisan legislation empowers survivors of abusive living situations and provides critical resources needed to escape the cyclical violence that plagues so many United States households,” Rouda said in a Nov. 20 news release. “I thank my colleagues for their work on this issue and am proud to support the thousands of brave Americans who have endured or are currently enduring domestic violence.”
The HEALS Act was earlier introduced in late 2017 (as S 2230) by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas). That bill, which required “the Department of Housing and Urban Development to take specified measures to improve services provided to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including by authorizing any defunded transitional housing projects to reapply for funding,” never went anywhere after its Dec. 14, 2017 introduction.
Though the text of HR 5184 is finished, it hasn’t yet been uploaded to the bill’s official Congressional webpage.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.