We’ve witnessed the dangerous coalescing of domestic violence and homelessness — both of which were problems before the pandemic but have become more urgent since the arrival of the virus. Elevated stress levels have led to an increase in abusive behavior, while stay-at-home-orders have made it difficult for survivors to seek help. The economic fallout from the virus also is pushing many into joblessness, homelessness, and unsafe environments.
Together, domestic violence and lack of affordable housing make life exponentially harder for those who experience them. Recognizing the deep connection between the two issues — which affect millions of individuals, families, and communities — provides us with an opportunity to come up with solutions at their intersection. One such solution that is proving successful in California is the Domestic Violence Housing First model, an innovative approach that acknowledges the enormous threat to the lives of too many Californians posed by domestic violence and housing insecurity.
Housing insecurity is a significant factor in the decision of many survivors of domestic violence to remain in abusive relationships — and in the continued exposure of too many children to that violence. The lack of affordable housing in many parts of California makes it harder for those experiencing domestic violence to leave the person causing them harm. To break this cycle of violence — a cycle that often perpetuates itself across generations — we must do more, and do better, to support those most at risk.
Since 2016, the state of California has been implementing the Domestic Violence Housing First model, which assists domestic violence survivors with funds needed to cover the cost of options directly related to their housing stability, well-being, and safety. Recently Blue Shield of California Foundation released an evaluation of the program.
The model empowers survivors of domestic violence to make decisions related to their critical needs and connects them with a supportive community of service providers. Funds provided through the program can be used for rental assistance and a wide range of expenses, including food, safety measures, transportation, utility payments, and childcare costs. Flexibility is a key aspect of the program; often, it is the small challenges and expenses that lead to housing instability and homelessness.
Read the full article about addressing domestic violence by Richard Thomason and Krista Niemczyk at Philanthropy News Digest.
Since you are interested in Gender Equity, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Gender Equity?
Are you ready to give?
If you are looking for opportunities to take action and give money to COVID-19, here are some Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects aggregated by Giving Compass where you can take immediate action.