Domestic Violence Drives Up Shelter Population

Housing Options are Scarce

Domestic Violence and Housing OptionsOn January 28, 2014, NJ Counts 2014, the statewide point in time count of the homeless, found 1,076 homeless households that identified themselves as victims of domestic violence. This was 12% of the total households counted.

A November 10, 2014 New York Times article, “Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options are Scarce,” focuses on the unique issues facing victims of homelessness who often also find themselves homeless.

If low-income women “walk away” from the abusers, this usually means leaving both their jobs and financial support – either through a spouse or partner’s income or their own jobs.

New York City, along with cities across the country and in NJ are finding that an increasing percentage of its shelter population has faced domestic violence. And finding affordable housing for these families so that they can exit the shelter includes find a “safe place” in a new neighborhood where hopefully, their abusers cannot locate them.

“’Without exception, one of the first questions someone attempting to escape domestic violence asks is, ‘If I leave, where will I go? For someone who is desperately poor, the answer is all too often, ‘There’s no place I can go and be taken in.’”

Said Mary E. Brosnahan, president and chief executive of Coalition for the Homeless, a nonprofit group.

In both New York City and across New Jersey, vouchers recently lost due to sequestration along with long waiting lists for both public housing apartments and vouchers just adds to the pressure on already very tight affordable housing market.

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