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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”