Homeless in Winter

Mom with son and daughter in grassy fieldShortly 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 snow storms, 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.

The initial relief of putting 2,000 miles between her abuser and the kids was replaced by stress, exhaustion, and worry. 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 was able to overcome her difficult rental history and limited income. After five months of wintertime homelessness, the family finally moved into 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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Domestic violence happens on the Eastside

Becky met her former husband while backpacking in Australia. They married in Britain, but she followed him to the Eastside.

Looking back Becky realized the abuse started while they were dating, but became steadily worse after they married. He controlled all of their finances and criticized her for buying things even though they both had good paying jobs.

Over time the violence became more physical. He shoved her and hit their dog. Finally he strangled her. Becky reached out to LifeWire for safety planning and financial support as she worked to leave her abuser and start a new life.

During October’s Domestic Violence Action Month, LifeWire’s Executive Director, Rachel Krinsky, domestic violence survivor, Becky, spoke with Gary Shipe about domestic violence and you can do to help survivors.

Listen to the full segment here:

 

 

 

Domestic violence and homelessness go hand in hand

Mom holding boy's hand

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.”

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Threat of deporation

Mature woman looking at camera with woven hat on

Living with the threat of deportation

For 20 years, Anna lived under the abuse and control of her American husband who refused to allow her to become a U.S. citizen. Despite her efforts to obtain a Green Card, she needed her husband’s approval. Instead of signing her paperwork, he held the threat of deportation over her head as a method of control.

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