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.

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.

Survivor Advocacy in Action

Woman sitting on balcony looking sadly out

Mia was a political activist in her South American home country. After years of demanding change and accountability from her government, she faced growing threats and harassment. Eventually, a member of the military assaulted her during a political rally. No longer feeling safe in her country, Mia made the tough decision to leave her two daughters with her sister and flee to the United States.

Mia won political asylum and relocated to Washington. Her limited English proficiency made it challenging to find work, but a friend from church helped her find a restaurant job. Mia was relieved that she could begin saving to bring her daughters to the U.S.

Continue reading “Survivor Advocacy in Action”

Amira’s Story

Even though she’d left him, Amira’s abuser kept coming back. He forced and intimidated his way into the home that Amira shared with their five-year-old daughter Hana. He regularly followed her to work, harassing Amira in front of her customers and coworkers. Things became so bad, the 25-year-old Sudanese immigrant was forced to leave her job. Pregnant with her abuser’s child and unsure how to support two children on her own, Amira reached out to LifeWire.

Confident woman

With the help of her advocate, Amira connected with local resources to help meet her basic needs. She began meeting with a LifeWire mental health therapist, who helped Amira process some of the traumas she experienced after years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Amira worked with her advocate to create a safety plan, which included seeking a protection order. LifeWire’s legal advocate connected Amira with a pro bono attorney who helped her obtain a protection plan and set up a parenting plan.

Since Amira obtained her protection order, her abuser stopped contacting her. Instead of worrying about her safety, Amira now has time to raise Hana and her infant son Abdi. Amira is working hard on her long-term goals of raising healthy and safe children, having stable housing, returning to the workforce, and becoming a U.S. citizen.

Renata’s Story

Renata was both relieved and afraid to learn her husband was behind bars. She felt safe, but knew that wouldn’t last. He could be released at any time. Renata wanted to protect herself and her two daughters, but she didn’t have any place to go. And without immigration papers, the Mexican-born woman didn’t have may options. Sensing Renata’s distress, the police officer assigned to her domestic violence case referred her to LifeWire.

Confident woman

With her housing advocate’s help, Renata and her kids relocated to My Sister’s Home, LifeWire’s emergency shelter. My Sister’s Home provided the family with the space and resources they needed to begin healing. After meeting with her legal advocate, Renata learned that she was eligible to apply for a U Visa as a survivor of a violent crime. If awarded, the visa would allow her to live and work legally in the U.S. LifeWire connected her to a pro bono immigration attorney, who helped Renata apply for and receive the temporary visa.

As Renata prepared to leave the shelter and move into her own apartment, she learned that she had to provide a higher security deposit due to her limited rental history. LifeWire used flexible funds to assist with her move-in costs and her first month’s rent.

Today, Renata and her kids are healing. She still attends group therapy sessions and social gatherings with other survivors. Renata wants to help other survivors the way LifeWire staff and volunteers helped her.