Source: Clough, A., Draughon, J. E., Njie-Carr, V., Rollins, C., & Glass, N. (2014). “Having housing made everything else possible”: Affordable, safe and stable housing for women survivors of violence. Qualitative Social Work, 13(5), 671-688.
Among MSCFV clients, about 5% specifically say they returned to their abuser partner in the past because they had no place to go. One out of four victims exiting MSCFV’s emergency shelter are going to stay with family or friends, living situations that are often unstable.
The challenge of securing safe and affordable housing is even greater in the Maryland Mid-Shore Counties served by MSCFV. In these counties, private market housing costs have remained high, and low income or income based housing have waiting lists up to years long. MSCFV’s experience has shown that without substantial financial assistance, survivors of domestic violence are forced into housing situations that are detrimental to their well-being and the well-being of their children. A survivor is faced with choosing between living in a house which is unsafe because this is all they can afford with limited housing assistance, living in a crisis shelter for an extended period of time or returning to her abusive relationship. Immigrant survivors face additional obstacles that further limit their housing options due to the fact that they are not eligible for any housing assistance.
From initial contact until the victim leaves the program, MSCFV case managers work with each client to create and implement client-centered, holistic service plans that include:
Emergency Shelter: Safe shelters for victims and their minor children and their pets are available in each county served
Rapid Rehousing: Short-term (up to six months) rental assistance or housing within the New Beginnings apartment home
Transitional Housing: A local chapter of the American Legion owns and maintains a small apartment home that is reserved for participants in the MSCFV Transitional Program. This home provides a unique opportunity for family violence victims and their families to have safe and stable housing for up to 24 months while they work on securing other life-sustaining resources such as long-term employment, education, connections to community services, and child-care.
Housing Financial Assistance: As Family Violence survivors move along their journey towards strength and independence, their financial situations remain challenging. MSCFV provides financial assistance to cover the cost of maintaining or obtaining safe, long-term housing. Support includes rental or utilities payment assistance and assistance with related expenses such as payment of security deposits and other costs incidental to relocation to transitional housing.
Case Management services: The Transitional Services Coordinator, with support from the MSCFV team, provides Family Violence survivors client driven, tailored, holistic services to help overcome their legal, emotional, financial, educational, and employment challenges which will allow them to achieve their long-term self-sufficiency goals.
Employment and Housing Support: A case manager helps victims secure jobs, transportation, housing, childcare and other services needed to help victims become self-sufficient in stable housing.