Responding to COVID-19

The need for our services quickly grew during the pandemic, both in numbers and intensity. We experienced exponential increases in requests for housing and food assistance, as well as safety planning, legal help, and mental health therapy.

The pandemic forced abusers, survivors, and children into extended close contact, increasing the likelihood and severity of violence. Survivors who had already left abusive partners found it harder to stay safe and struggled to maintain their economic stability.

Thanks to creative planning, technology, and the dedication of our staff, LifeWire quickly adjusted in March 2020 to keep our shelters open and offer all other services virtually. To meet emerging needs, we expanded critical and emergency services.

We kept a skeleton staff at our shelters and continued to accept new families as shelter space became available. Thanks to new safety measures, and a little luck, there weren’t any confirmed COVID-19 cases in our shelters. Advocates became deeply creative to meet the new challenges:

  • Communicating with survivors through safe words and secure emails when an abusive partner was almost always home
  • Purchasing necessities online for families with health concerns so they didn’t have to venture out for diapers, wipes, or medicine
  • Using promissory letters and landlord education to help survivors relocate
  • Virtually accompanying survivors through court proceedings
  • Helping participants purchase phones, computers or other technology needed to access services

We anticipate that the effects of the pandemic in terms of home displacement, rental arrears, legal backlogs, trauma, mental health concerns and other immediate survivor needs will continue for 2-3 years after Washington state reopens. For survivors, this crisis is far from over

Not everyone can safely make a call

Woman in kitchen looking down and typing on her phone


Our helpline is staffed 24/7, but not everyone can safely make the call.

“Beth” was worried about her safety. Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order reduced her chance of catching or spreading COVID-19, but it left her vulnerable to other dangers.

Her husband lost hours at work, which meant a smaller paycheck and more time trapped at home with him. While he never hurt her physically, the emotional abuse grew by the day, scaring Beth and their young daughter.

In her brief moments alone, Beth reached out to LifeWire via email. Working with an advocate only through email, Beth put together a safety plan and came up with ways to keep her and her daughter safer.

Become a lifeline for survivors like Beth now when they need it most and give today.

LifeWire’s COVID-19 Update

All of us at LifeWire hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during this health crisis. We want to share an update about how our services and our survivors are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LifeWire continues to serve survivors

Thanks to creative planning, technology, and the dedication of our staff, LifeWire is able to offer all of our existing services. Advocates and therapists regularly meet with participants by video or phone, and our support groups have moved online. We are operating our shelter with limited on-site staff and staffing our helpline around the clock.

The need for our services during the COVID-19 pandemic is growing. We have seen an increase in the number of requests for housing assistance and food, as well as safety planning, legal help, and mental health therapy.

Continue reading “LifeWire’s COVID-19 Update”