2022 Impact Report

You Make a Difference for Survivors

Dear Friends,

When survivors and families in our community face violence and abuse at the hands of someone they love, they turn to LifeWire for help. In 1982, LifeWire started out as Eastside Domestic Violence Program, an all-volunteer crisis line. In 1998, we began providing emergency shelter and transitional housing services, and we have increased capacity annually to meet the growing need for critical services in our community.

Today, we are celebrating 40 Years of Service—providing direct services to over 3,300 survivors annually. We are the most comprehensive domestic violence (DV) service agency in Washington State and the largest DV housing provider in King County—providing emergency and relocation services for survivors and their children who would otherwise have to remain in an abusive household or become homeless.

Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children in the nation. LifeWire launched the Hope Starts Here Capital Campaign in 2018 to address this issue. Thanks to LifeWire’s generous donors and supportive community, we completed the Campaign in May 2022, having raised $15.75M to purchase a 25-unit apartment complex, provide ADA-accessible apartments, and build a services office in one central location.

This fall, we will move homeless survivors and their families into their new apartments, creating a vibrant community with on-site services and easy access to transportation, schools, and additional resources. We will increase housing access for survivors and children in our community who are facing the greatest safety risks and highest barriers to safe housing.

We have made great strides, but there is still more work to be done. As we recover from COVID-19 and economic uncertainty, the need for LifeWire services continues to grow in numbers and intensity. Time and time again, we have faced the need for change head-on and embraced the opportunity to be a leader in the mission to end domestic violence.

This year, LifeWire is transitioning to new leadership who will continue to move this incredible organization forward. We are committed to providing every possible resource to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of the survivors we serve.

Thank you for all the ways you help LifeWire! Through your generosity, LifeWire can provide the support and resources that survivors and their children need to build safer, more stable lives. Thank you!

Gratefully,

Rebecca Houghton
LifeWire Board President
Brian Hughes,
LifeWire Interim Executive Director

SURVIVOR STORIES

Leaving The Cycle of Domestic Violence and Homelessness

While Lucia was working on getting her green card, she was experiencing
extensive physical violence. The police were called to her home, but her abuser accused Lucia of domestic violence, and because he had scratches on his arms from her self-defense attempts, he falsely accused her of DV, got a no-contact order, and removed her from their home.


Lucia was homeless and living in the park when another participant
brought her to LifeWire. She was terrified. Her abuser was threatening
to harm or kill her daughters in Mexico, and she was in danger of having her green card application denied due to the DV charges. We brought Lucia
into our shelter as she needed a safe, a confidential place to stay, and paired her with a Spanish-speaking advocate. Together, they worked tirelessly with the prosecutor’s office to get the false charges dismissed.


Finally, her immigration process was back on track, and she got a work permit. We reunited her with her daughters, and the family is now prospering. Lucia and her oldest daughter have jobs; her youngest
daughter is in school. They feel safe. They have enough income to pay their rent and are looking for a new apartment using LifeWire’s Rapid Rehousing
Program and the Address Confidentiality Program. Through LifeWire’s confidential services, Lucia and her children have created a safe and happy home.

Lucia

“I didn’t see a way out. LifeWire helped me find safety, security, and hope.”

Lucia, Survivor

Hope Starts Here

For five years, LifeWire supported Anna with advocacy and counseling while she and her children lived in an abusive household. Her husband isolated and controlled her, refused to let her seek sobriety support, and never let her be alone with her children. It was simply not safe for her to leave. LifeWire advocates worked with Anna to create a Safety Plan and provided emotional and practical support so that she could plan for how she and her children might one day escape their situation.


On March 18, 2022, Anna drove away from that abusive home with her children. They were able to move into LifeWire’s transitional housing, My Friend’s Place, where survivors who are parenting and struggling with substance use can heal and rebuild their lives. Anna called her advocate on the way to say how amazing it felt just to be in the car, alone with her two children, for the first time in years. For now, Anna
and her children are sharing one bedroom. But, later this year, they will move into their own private Hope Starts Here (HSH) Apartment with access to schools, grocery
stores, parks, and playgrounds at our new facility.


Anna and her two children.

“For the first time in a very long time, I’m looking forward to the future. LifeWire saved my life.”

Anna, Survivor

Turning To LifeWire For Help

When Angela found out she was expecting her first child, she was thrilled. She thought everything was “fine” with her marriage until the arguing, insults, and visits to the emergency room began. Every night she would become afraid when she heard the key turn in the lock, knowing that her partner was home from work.


One weekend, when Angela’s husband violently assaulted her in front of her young son, she called LifeWire. Her advocate helped her file a police report and a protection order and moved Angela and her son into a confidential hotel while the police searched for her abuser. After he was arrested, she was able to break her lease and move to a safe, confidential apartment.


At LifeWire, she found a safe place where she could talk with a mental health therapist and begin to heal from the recurring anxiety brought on by being traumatized and abused. Today, Angela has a healthy three-year-old son, works at a job she loves, and is living in her own apartment. Angela credits LifeWire with this powerful transformation.

Angela and her son

“It’s important to know there’s a safe place for survivors to go to, a place to heal and overcome the trauma they have experienced,” she explains.
“It helps to talk with someone that really understands what that fear and betrayal feel like.

Angela, Survivor

Finding strength and stability

Every time Aleah tried to leave or hide, her abusive partner tracked her down. Eventually, one of his violent outbursts left her with a traumatic brain injury and a growing stack of medical bills. When he landed in jail for the assault, Aleah was also left to pay their shared rent and the other bills. She tried to find work, but jobs were scarce during the first months of the pandemic. Then her doctor declared her unable to work for at least a few months while she healed from her brain injury.

Aleah was months behind on her rent when she reached out to LifeWire for financial help. Despite the eviction moratorium, her landlord pressed her weekly about paying the back rent accumulated since her assault. Aleah told her advocate that she didn’t know where else to go for help. She had immigrated to the U.S. from the Middle East for school nearly a decade before, leaving most of her family behind.

To give Aleah the stability she needed to address her health and other DV-related issues, LifeWire paid her rent twice. When her abuser got out of jail and assaulted her again, Aleah called her advocate for help with crisis safety planning. She worked with her LifeWire legal advocate to get a Domestic Violence Protection Order. In the process, Aleah learned how to advocate for herself if she needed to call the police on her abuser again. Equipped with a better understanding of the American legal system, Aleah found a low-cost lawyer to support her case.

Feeling safer, Aleah worked with her advocate on becoming economically stable. She connected with the additional health services she needed to heal and applied for medical bill relief. Aleah finally felt able to sleep at night when she connected with Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) – King County, which will help repay her back rent. Aleah is still recovering from her head injury, but she hopes to find a new job soon. She recently told her advocate, “I’m doing really well.”

We support survivors:

LifeWire partners with survivors on their individual journeys toward renewed strength, stability, and empowerment. Our advocates listen to survivors as they describe their needs and help them identify resources that will enable them to build safer lives. By tailoring our support to each survivor, we are able to respond to survivors’ unique barriers, challenges, and goals.

Help us ensure that LifeWire’s Advocacy Services are here for every survivor who needs them when they need them.

Thanks to your support, last year:

  • 969 survivors worked one-on-one with a LifeWire advocate to heal from physical, financial, emotional, and other forms of abuse.
  • 209 participants received support from LifeWire’s Legal Advocacy services team for domestic violence-related issues, including Protection Orders and custody challenges.
  • 158 adults, children, and youth received domestic violence-informed mental health therapy to heal form their experiences.

Reaching out to a friend

Emma attended LifeWire’s healthy relationships class as part of the 10th-grade health curriculum at her high school. She didn’t know anything about DV or dating violence before the presentation. But as she listened, she realized that her friend Becca might be living in a house where DV was occurring. One slide in the presentation shared tips about how to talk to a friend who might be experiencing DV. After class, Emma spoke to one of our staff members and then used the advice to reach out to her friend. Becca was glad that Emma asked about what was happening at home and found it helpful to talk to someone who listened without shame or blame.

Emma and Becca both started coming to the student leadership group that LifeWire facilitates at their school. Becca found support from peers who care about DV issues and understand the challenges of coping with these issues during the pandemic. Emma was surprised to learn how many kids are impacted by DV and dating violence and was excited to learn that DV is preventable.

Emma says, “As I talk to more students about their experiences with DV and dating violence, I become more passionate about wanting to prevent it.” She was elected president of the leadership group for 2021 and is working to reach and involve new groups of kids at her high school in the movement.


We promote healthy relationships

LifeWire partners with area high schools, Bellevue College, and UW Bothell to provide young people with the tools they need to build healthy relationships and identify unhealthy behaviors. We also mentor athletic coaches and student leaders to foster informed youth communities that feel empowered to prevent violence.

More young people need skills to build healthy relationships. Help us expand to additional high schools and colleges.

Thanks to your support, last year:

  • 796 High school and college students learned about dating violence and healthy relationships.
  • 4,103 Community members learned about domestic violence and LifeWire’s services.

We felt like we could rest

After weeks spent shuffling her two kids by bus between her friends’ apartments, Luisa finally felt she could rest. They’d found a safer place to stay at My Sister’s Home, LifeWire’s emergency shelter.

Her abuser knew that Luisa was an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who spoke little English, and she depended upon him for housing and other basic needs. But Luisa wanted to give her children a home free from violence. So she’d packed a few belongings and left.

As a victim of crime, Luisa learned she was eligible for a U visa that would allow her to stay in the U.S. with her American-born children. Over several months, Luisa worked with a lawyer and a translator to plead her case. Her Spanish-speaking advocate helped to translate the legal language and listened as Luisa practiced her story for court. Getting her visa and work permit was a huge relief. Luisa was able to renew her I.D. and open a bank account for the first time.

After finding a job, Luisa began to search for housing. Through King County’s Coordinated Entry, her advocate matched Luisa with a housing program run by
Muslim Housing Services. Because Luisa had no rental history, it took months working with her advocate to find an affordable apartment. After a year and a half at My Sister’s Home, Luisa was excited to move into a complex where both the office staff and maintenance workers spoke Spanish. Once the housing program ends, Luisa feels she’ll be ready to take over the whole rent.

We provide paths to safer housing

Our advocates work with survivors to overcome challenges that prevent them from finding and maintaining safer and stable housing. We offer confidential emergency and transitional housing and housing-first programs that prioritize getting or keeping survivors housed so they can improve their safety and pursue personal goals.

Twice as many survivors needed housing or shelter last year than we could serve. Help us ensure that no one has to choose between staying in a violent home or becoming homeless.

Thanks to your support, last year:

  • 368 families and 982 individuals received safe, confidential shelter and housing services.
  • survivors and their families found 29,385 nights of safe shelter through LifeWire’s emergency shelter and transitional housing.