In order to combat domestic violence and homelessness, our clients need financial assistance to establish independent living. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, housing programs provide critical services for survivors of domestic violence and are often a key component that allows survivors to flee the violence perpetrated against them.
A pragmatic need surfaces repeatedly when survivors of domestic violence leave their abusive partner: having enough income to pay for housing, transportation, education/training, food, clothing, and childcare. Regrettably, for some, the option to return to their abusive partner seems to be the only way they can provide for themselves and their children. In Dr. Ludy Green’s book on economics and domestic violence, she reports that in working with survivors from violent homes, “Many women go back to their abuser…. Their responses were always: I don’t have the money. I depend on my husband. He pays all the bills, so what can I do with all my children?” If a survivor chooses to leave their partner, homelessness is another sad reality. Unfortunately, fifty percent of people fleeing from an abusive relationship will become homeless.
The DOVES transitional living program helps prevent homelessness by assisting clients financially with rent, utilities, childcare and other subsidies. We also provide emotional support by assisting clients with counseling, job coaching and case management. Our community only has one low-income housing unit with months of a wait list, so finding affordable housing in the Big Bear Valley is nearly impossible. There are also no homeless shelters or services for free housing in our community. This project is unique because it is the first of its kind to combat homelessness and domestic violence in the San Bernardino Mountain communities.
To grow our program, we are working toward purchasing and renting property that we will in turn rent to our clients. We see a need for this because our clients have a difficult time getting approved to rent their own property. With our program they will be able to find safe housing, and also work on building their credit score to establish their own independence.
To date, all of our client in our transitional living program are living free of their abusive partner in either a home or apartment. We see a dire need to assist more clients and keep this preventive program running.
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A more detailed explanation of our program can be found here:
Project Goal: To prevent clients from becoming homeless or returning to an abusive partner for financial assistance.
Objective I: Bi-Monthly meetings for up to 24 months with transitional advocate or counselor/advocate to discuss goals and work on skills to help transition such as: budgeting, resume building, interview skills, grocery shopping, etc.
Activities: Attend group classes or individual meetings to work on skills discussed above. If referred, clients may also meet with a therapist on a weekly outcome to overcome PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc.
Expected Outcomes: Client goals such as: finding a job, going to school, etc., may be met. Client may be able to provide for himself or herself financially.
Objective II: Subsidies for rent, utilities, transportation, food and clothing, vision and dental, tuition assistance, and/or childcare will be available at the beginning of the month.
Activities: Meet with transitional advocate to receive monies for independent living. During the 24-month period, months 1-12 up to 33% of client’s income will be subsidized; months 12-18 up to 20% of income will be subsidized; months 18-24 up to 10% of income will be subsidized; months 24 + 0% of income will be subsidized.
Expected Outcomes: Clients may establish financial independence from an abusive partner and from DOVES. In combination with Objective 1, the client may have the skills and support he or she needs to live independently.