Helping Hearts with Housing
Survivors of domestic violence are often forced to choose between two unappealing options: staying in an abusive relationship or leaving that relationship with the possibility of facing poverty and homelessness. The lack of financial resources outside of their abuser's income is a very common reason victims stay in abusive relationships.
PADV's Supportive Housing Program is designed to provide survivors of domestic violence a second chance at an independent, peaceful and violence-free life. Clients can move into their own community-based apartments and PADV provides supportive services to assist this process, including rental and additional financial assistance, community resources, emotional support and ongoing skill development. The services the program provides help our clients increase income, repair credit, rebuild family connections, continue to heal from the trauma of abuse and become more active members of their communities. By coupling housing with supportive services, we see a significant increase in housing stability, improved well-being of the client's children and numerous positive health outcomes.
When we asked Jenell Jackson, PADV's Supportive Housing Coordinator, about her most inspirational client, she thought of Bebe. Bebe is a domestic violence survivor who benefited greatly from the Supportive Housing Program and is now living a violence-free life.
Bebe came to America from Mexico in hopes of creating a better life for her daughter and herself. Once settled in the U.S., she thought she met the man of her dreams. Like many domestic violence relationships, Bebe and her new partner quickly progressed from dating to living together and ultimately having a child together. Shortly after her child was born, Bebe's partner became physically violent and forced Bebe into prostitution. After being arrested in a prostitution raid, Bebe was detained into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. When agents noticed the bruises covering her entire body, they called PADV for shelter and support. With help from ICE, Bebe testified against her partner and the court system pledged to assist her with gaining an immigration VISA to ensure her continued legal residence in the United States.
While in PADV's shelter, Bebe was able to start working, attend parenting classes and family therapy sessions to assist with her trauma and mend her relationship with her two daughters. With the help of one of our landlord partners and our immigration partner, Tapestri, we were able to secure housing for Bebe and her family. In September, Bebe received all of her immigration documents and is now a legal citizen, thriving in our Supportive Housing Program.
"Supportive Housing is needed because it allows survivors transitioning out of our shelters or leaving their abuser the chance to experience successful, cost-effective, independent living. The program alleviates the stress of a lack of affordable housing that can lead to homelessness or sadly, returning to their abuser," Jenell explained.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we hope that you will join us in our mission to end the crime of intimate partner violence. If you are moved to help our survivors, we encourage you to join Helping Hearts, our monthly giving program meant to expand PADV's resources so that we may meet the growing needs of all survivors. Click here to learn more and to donate.