When Abby, age 8, entered our transitional housing program this summer, she was so excited to finally have a stable place to call home. After bouncing from shelter to shelter, she and her mom were finally able to settle down long enough to decorate her room and make real connections. Abby is one of the friendliest kids I’ve ever worked with, but the years of instability made her nervous, self-conscious and anxious to please. It’s been a joy to watch her grow comfortable enough to show her bright personality to the other children and adults here, and we’ve worked consistently in the children’s group and one-on-one to build her self-confidence.
One week in March, the children’s group members made vision boards for their rooms by choosing words that would inspire and motivate them. We went through nearly 150 words and I asked them to consider which qualities they felt they already had and which they wanted to have on their boards to encourage them. Most of the other kids chose just a few words, but Abby enthusiastically nodded and grabbed almost every word as we read and defined them. Her vision board ended up being huge—the largest piece of cardboard I had could barely contain all of the qualities she knew she contained.
After group, she excitedly took her board back to her mom and proudly showed her and the other ladies in the house each word. It was so heartwarming to see her in action, confidently describing herself in such positive terms.
Alicia has never slept in a building doorway. She and her kids have never spent the night in a tent on the streets of Seattle. But for two years, Alicia and her family were homeless.
After Alicia’s abusive partner destroyed her credit by taking out loans in her name and left her without any means to pay rent, she was evicted. She and her children spent a few months staying with various family and friends, never knowing how long they could stay. They spent the next year living out of their car. And for six months after that – before they came to LifeWire – they moved from shelter to shelter.
Women and children are not among the homeless people we typically see on the streets of Seattle. You wouldn’t pass by them on your way to work or see them at a freeway onramp. Yet about half of homeless people are families, and domestic violence remains a leading cause of homelessness among women and children in the U.S. today.
“Eighty percent of homeless women with children have experienced domestic violence,” said Rachel Krinsky, LifeWire’s Executive Director. “Right here in Washington State, families with children represent nearly half of the 20,000 people who are homeless on any given night.”
Last month, Monica got the news she’d been waiting for. She had an interview for a job. And not just any job – a job with benefits; one that would allow her flexibility to care for her special needs son.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services invests $2,000,000 in Domestic Violence Housing First research
October 27, 2016
The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) will receive $2,000,000 from a partnership between the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct research on Domestic Violence Housing First, an approach to preventing homelessness for survivors of abuse and their children. Domestic Violence Housing First has shown promising results in a pilot program with urban, rural, and Tribal domestic violence programs across Washington state.