Domestic Violence and Evictions

Paper copy of eviction notice on brown front door with brass door handle

COVID-19 and evictions

Nationally, one in three renters is at risk of eviction because of financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even during the best of times, domestic violence survivors, especially BIPOC women, face economic hardship and are vulnerable to eviction. Women who experience recent or ongoing domestic violence are more likely to face eviction than any other group of women. And Black women face evictions at least three times the rate of other survivors.

COVID-related layoffs, reduced hours, sickness, and the loss of affordable child care have made things worse. Survivors who can no longer afford rent are worried about becoming homeless when Washington’s eviction moratorium ends on December 31 {Update: now extended to March 31, 2021}. Thanks to flexible funds from local governments, foundations, and individuals, LifeWire has provided many survivors with rental assistance, reducing their chance of becoming homeless in the coming months. Even so, too many survivors will face eviction in 2021.

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A Home of Her Own

Layla’s husband controlled just about every part of her life. She had a part-time job because he wouldn’t let her work full-time—it was harder to monitor her when she worked. He controlled not only her paycheck, but all of their money. Her name wasn’t even on their accounts, and he made her beg when she needed to buy essentials like food, soap, or toilet paper.

Layla felt isolated and cut off from her family and friends. He didn’t let them visit and limited how much time Layla could spend on her phone and who she could call. Feeling alone, one day she used the phone at work to call LifeWire during her lunch break because she didn’t know who else to call.

With the help of her LifeWire housing stability advocate, Layla found a new apartment close to work. Flexible funds paid for her first month’s rent, giving her the financial flexibility she needed to leave her abuser and find safety. As a Black woman with limited credit and banking history, the temporary financial assistance offered Layla a path forward to achieving stability. Layla has started working full-time and is able to support herself and enjoy her growing career and personal freedom.

Confident Black woman wearing peach shirt looking at camera

The impossible choice of homelessness or living with an abuser

Woman holding infant

“Ana” fled her abuser and found help at LifeWire 10 months ago. LifeWire helped her find safety and housing and covered the first few months’ rent until she found a stable job.

When Ana’s employer closed in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, Ana feared eviction would leave her homeless with a newborn. Her abusive partner said he could pay, so Ana made the difficult decision to allow him back in (before the state stayed evictions.

He is extremely controlling and abusive. Ana can only contact her legal advocate by email while he is asleep. Ana and her advocate hope she’ll soon get a protection order and appear in court by phone.

Survivors like Ana need your support to ensure they have access to legal and housing resources they need to live safer lives. Show your support today and give the gift of safety.

Homeless in Winter

Mom with son and daughter in grassy field

Shortly after arriving in Washington, Rose found a job working part-time for the U.S. Postal Service. But between the government shut-down and February’s snowstorms, she went over two months without a full paycheck. Unable to rent an apartment because of the debt she took on to flee her abuser, Rose and her two children bounced between family, hotels, and her car. They were homeless in winter.

Stress, exhaustion, and worry replaced the initial relief Rose felt after putting 2,000 miles between her abuser and the kids. But what hurt Rose the most was watching her children face the ongoing impact of domestic violence combined with the new trauma of homelessness. Rose’s children struggled with their emotions at school and the lack of stability she longed to give them.

Rose reached out to LifeWire. With the help of her LifeWire housing advocate, Rose overcame her difficult rental history and limited income. After five months of wintertime homelessness, the family finally moved into an apartment of their own.

With a stable and safe roof over their heads and the support of LifeWire advocates, Rose and her children are healing and planning for their future. Rose is working on career development and the children are thriving in their new home and schools.

Domestic Violence and Homelessness

Woman driving a car

Alicia never slept in a building doorway. She and her kids never spent the night in a tent on the streets of Seattle or Bellevue. But for two years, Alicia and her family were homeless.

The eviction notice came after her abusive partner destroyed her credit by taking out loans in her name. She and her kids spent a few months couch surfing with various family and friends, never knew how long they could stay. They spent a year living out of their car. And for six months after that, they moved from shelter to shelter.

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