Housing and Services for Victims of Domestic Violence

CoCs Urged to Fund Comprehensive Domestic Violence Services

On July 25, 2016, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs Ann Marie Oliva issued a “SNAPS in Focus” message about housing and services for victims of domestic violence.

Ms. Oliva stated that an array of projects serving people fleeing domestic violence are critical to a comprehensive homeless services system “regardless of component type.”

She wrote that each component type – transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing for survivors – can and should have a place in a community’s system.

“Transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing for survivors each can and should have a place in a community’s system as long as these programs meet a need in the community, can show positive safety and housing related outcomes, and provide choice to the people who want these types of programs. I would urge CoCs to thoughtfully and fully engage with local victim service providers to ensure this balanced approach.”

Writes Oliva.

As Continuums of Care (CoCs) make local funding decisions related to the FY16 CoC Program Competition, Ms. Oliva urged them to engage local victim service providers to ensure a balanced approach that considers each of the component types. She also listed a number of issues for CoCs to consider when making local decisions, such as:

  • Geographic coverage, particularly in rural areas;
  • Program outcomes, recognizing that survivors often need longer time frames to gain stability and move to permanent housing;
  • Program design, such as trauma-informed practices and a housing-first orientation;
  • Maintaining the same number of units when reallocating resources from a low-performing project to another project.

“For our part, HUD is continuing to work with our Federal Partners and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to identify effective ways to serve survivors of domestic violence and to strengthen community capacity.

The USICH Interagency Sub-Group on Domestic Violence is prioritizing both short- and longer-term actions to support this important work.This includes developing a quick-guide for communities to help inform decision-making as they assess and review domestic violence transitional housing project applications that USICH will release later this week.”

Oliva concludes.

NJCounts 2016 found 345 households in New Jersey self-reporting domestic violence as the primary factor contributing to or causing its homelessness.

As background, domestic violence is the immediate cause of homelessness for many women.

Survivors of domestic violence are often isolated from support networks and financial resources by their abusers, which puts them at risk of becoming homeless. As a result, they may lack steady income, employment history, credit history, and landlord references.

They also often suffer from anxiety, panic disorder, major depression, and substance abuse.

SNAPS in Focus

NjCounts 2016 Executive Summary

NLIHC Update on Domestic Violence

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