Survivors of domestic violence often leave their entire lives behind to seek safety. Even worse, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that up to 99% of all domestic violence victims experience compounded economic abuse by their partner. At DCFOF, we know that economic abuse can take on many forms. For example, abusers often force the victim to quit their job or coerce them into non-consensual credit-related transactions that will negatively impact the victim’s credit. As a result of economic abuse, victims often feel forced to stay or return to their abusive situation.
That’s where we come in.
Friends of the Family’s Transitional Housing Program offers some relief to survivors of family violence by helping clients find a new safe home, as well as help furnish and provide basic household items. The Transitional Housing Program helps domestic violence victims create a safe place to heal and gain their independence. Since February 2018, Friend of the Family’s Transitional Housing Program has helped 193 clients — 66 families — find their safe new beginning. Below is Rhonda’s story; she and her children were one of the 66 families.
When Rhonda entered our Transitional Housing program, she and her 3-year-old son were facing eviction from their home. She was pregnant with her second child, and she had been experiencing extreme physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse from her partner. Beyond that, the ongoing abuse had impacted her ability to maintain employment and stable housing for her and her son. Unfortunately, Rhonda wanted to finish school but was forced to put her plans on hold. The violence and instability she experienced at the hands of her abuser felt insurmountable. Eventually, the abuser was arrested for family violence, which only left Rhonda attempting to support herself and her child, as well as deal with a pending home eviction. Nevertheless, she was determined to survive and create a better life for her son and unborn child.
Through the coordinated effort of multiple DCFOF departments, our Legal Team was able to get the eviction dismissed, and our Transitional Housing Team secured a new apartment for Rhonda and her son. Moreover, the Transitional Housing Program provided her with rental and utility assistance for six months to give her time to begin healing, earning an income, and provide care of her son. While in the Transitional Housing Program, Rhonda accessed counseling for herself, play therapy for her son, legal advocacy, case management, along with financial childcare and education assistance. Meanwhile, her advocate assisted her in working with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office as the abuser’s criminal case proceeded and helped her obtain a protective order against the abuser. At the same time, her advocate worked as a liaison between her and Child Protective Services to help her meet her goals and follow her safety plan. Our program staff had the exciting privilege to meet Rhonda’s new baby when she was born just a few months into our program. Staff and volunteers came together to provide needed baby items to help with the transition time for her as they became a family of three.
Rhonda was determined to work hard and provide for herself and her two children. During her time with us, she obtained a full-time job, received a promotion, and became a trainer for new employees. Soon after, she was able to begin fulfilling her dream of going back to school, where she completed a certification program through the local community college. Rhonda even has plans to continue her education this fall. When she exited our program, she had increased her income and moved her family into an apartment in her name. Above all, Rhonda has made a new life for her family and worked hard to achieve her goals. Like many other survivors, Rhonda needed safe, accessible housing for her and her children, so that she could begin working on her goals and healing. Thankfully, the Friends of the Family Transitional Housing program can provide those necessary resources, support, and love to those in need.
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