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Domestic violence can take any form namely psychological abuse, forced intercourse, physical aggression as well as other controlling behaviors. The negative impacts of domestic violence can have physical, mental, and emotional ramifications. In most cases, the basis of abuse lies in sociocultural norms and a normalization of violence against women.
Intimate partner violence may lead to mental health disorders, anxiety disorders and PTSD. Moreover, the longer the duration of violence, the higher the severity of depression. Children who witness such violence may also suffer from mental health disorders in subsequent life—ranging from anxiety, aggression, depression and trauma-related symptoms. This trauma may also lead children to have academic difficulties later in life, substance abuse issues, or display high-risk sexual behavior.
Survivors like Edith found not just shelter, but case management and counseling services to help deal with the traumatic effects of domestic violence.
“My husband abused me every day for over four years. It started when I was 21 years old and was living in Northridge with my husband, our son and infant daughter. He was controlling and manipulative, and I had suffered physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, economic, and sexual abuse. I never talked with anyone about the abuse. I was alone and did not have family here. He was my only family. It became worse when his mother started participating in the abuse. The day I decided to leave the father of my kids was the same day he hit me so hard he broke my nose, he was screaming and physically abusing me. His mother and his sister came to the apartment and took my kids. My husband stayed and continued the abuse throughout the night. He finally left in the morning. I gathered myself and called him that afternoon, begging him to bring my kids back. I went to his mother’s house to pick up my kids, his mother told me to forget my kids and she closed and locked the door. I went back to the apartment, and I stayed there by myself. After three days, I went to the police and was advised to speak with somebody and explained my domestic violence and my abuser, and his family doesn’t want to give me my kids. I was transferred to a court investigator; he gave me an emergency restraining order. It took me fifteen days to get my kids back. A case was opened against the father of my kids, and I was told that they attempted to contact him, but he never answered or came back to the apartment. I was given contact information for shelters in my area. Haven Hills was the closest shelter to my home; I called the hotline, went through intake and began the program in 2016. Haven Hills made me feel protected and not lonely anymore. The counselors were very helpful to me, and I could trust them. I took domestic violence classes, yoga classes, I attended support groups, one on one counseling, and therapy. All the programs gave me the strength to understand and accept that I was not the only one in the abuse and were vital for my healing process and I finally lost the fear three years ago. The future holds a better life for my kids and me. “
Survivors of domestic violence experience many emotions such as fear, confusion, anger, numbness, guilt, and shame. You can cover up the visible effects of violence with makeup or clothing but getting help for abuse in a timely manner can help prevent the long-term emotional and psychological impacts of abuse.
Haven Hills can help Survivors with resources to help with the long-term impacts of abuse and start them on a path of positive mental health and wellness. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, seek help. You are not alone. Haven Hills 24/7 Crisis Hotline 818-887-6589
Leaving a domestic violence situation is not easy. Often survivors are faced with almost insurmountable obstacles that make it difficult for them to seek safety. At Haven Hills we believe that everyone deserves to live a life free from violence and make it our mission to help survivors break down barriers that keep them in unsafe relationships.
Women like Claire who in April 2022 was referred to us by another domestic violence agency and began working with one of our Housing Navigators. With the financial assistance from our Housing First program, and despite the many challenges in her path, Claire worked to reach huge milestones.
The first obstacle Claire had to overcome was an open child custody case with her abusive partner, for custody of her youngest son. Costly fees to obtain legal representation were a significant barrier. Through financial assistance from the program, she has secured legal representation and continues to work towards regaining full custody of her son. Unfortunately, the Judge, in that custody case, deemed the shelter in which she was residing an unsuitable environment for her son. Therefore, it became imperative that Claire find housing, in her son’s school district, to comply with the Judge’s requirements.
In July 2022, she obtained a place to live within her son’s school district where she could live with both of her children. The Housing First Program provided support for Claire’s security deposit and a few months of rental assistance to allow time for Claire to get back on her feet after exiting the shelter.
Throughout that time, Claire and her Housing Navigator worked together to provide her with assistance crucial to her independence and safety.
Much like healing trauma and abuse, finding affordable, safe housing is crucial to helping survivors reduce the possibility of future violence. That is why programs like Housing First are so important as they reduce housing instability and homelessness and ensure that survivors have increased economic opportunities.
Claire is very thankful to the Haven Hills Team and often refers to Haven Hills as “Heaven Hills” and to the Haven Hills’ team as her “angels”. We couldn’t be prouder of her success and the small part we played in her achievements.
Despite the many barriers still before her, Claire continues to make steady progress towards self-sustainability and is hopeful for what is yet to come. Haven Hills will continue to provide support to ensure that Claire and her children don’t lose their housing or their financial independence.
Since 2018 the Housing First Program has helped survivors like Claire exit from our transitional program, crisis shelter, and outreach programs to find housing successfully, pursue their goals and improve their quality of life.
To find out how your unrestricted gift can help us invest in critical programs like Housing First please contact our Development Department at 818-887-7481 ext. 121.
Do you consider domestic violence a cause to homelessness in the United States? You may be surprised to learn that domestic violence is a common factor in homelessness for single adults and families. It decreases job stability, threatens financial stability, and interferes with the victim’s abilities to form supportive relationships to escape the abuse. In many cases, domestic violence is the immediate
cause of their homelessness, and the two are tightly interwoven.
In Los Angeles, domestic violence (DV) and homelessness are strongly correlated as
evidenced by the 2019 Homeless Count report published by Los Angeles Homeless
Services Agency (LAHSA). In Los Angeles County, there was a 28% increase among
individuals/families who were homeless due to fleeing a domestic violence situation.
The City of Los Angeles reported a 42% increase among homeless individuals/families reporting either current incidences or experience of DV. According to the National LowIncome Housing Coalition, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in LA is $1,670; requiring an annual income of $66,520 or $31.98 per hour; a household would need three minimum wage job earners to afford such rent. These staggering figures make it extremely difficult for low-income individuals and families to secure and maintain affordable housing, especially for DV survivors during COVID-19. Domestic Violence survivors face unique barriers regarding safety, confidentiality, and dealing with trauma.
When victims do flee, many times from a lethal incident, they flee to domestic violence
Emergency Shelters or fall into homelessness when these resources are not available.
It comes down to this – when victims make the hard decision to leave and reach out for
help, they must be able to find safety and support if they are to escape domestic
Serving domestic violence survivors begins with availability and access to safe, physical
spaces to support survivors and their children. In fact, the immediate need of a survivor
fleeing domestic violence is safety. Some survivors may be able to safely stay in their
own home with some additional financial support through rental assistance while others
may require a stay in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program before reentering their own independent housing.
To help our clients find safe housing, Haven Hills has Housing Navigators. Our Housing
Navigators are case managers that assesses, coordinate and monitor housing plans for
clients in all three of our programs. Their job is to advocate with landlords, homeless
service providers and housing partners to find clients permanent and stable housing
once they leave our facilities.
Our housing efforts include our two shelter programs (Crisis and Transitional Housing) and our Housing First program which assist clients in securing safe, permanent, and affordable housing upon exit from our shelters and individuals and families in the community. Since 2019, we have provided over $1million dollars ($1,026,645) to 243 households, including 125 families and 118 single individuals (243 adults / 170 children). In addition, 42 clients received financial support for education, materials,
household utilities and other flexible funding to support their housing efforts. Clients
report the support has changed their lives and helped them feel more confident when
transitioning out of our shelters, allowing them to focus on employment or educational
aspirations to maintain their housing upon exit. The greatest benefit is the flexible,
financial assistance to help with deposits, utilities, and dealing with emergency costs.
Short-term financial assistance to secure and maintain housing can change the
trajectory of a family in so many ways – leading them to live safe, healthy, and happy
lives; and most importantly ending the cycle of violence. Effectiveness at Haven Hills
has been demonstrated mainly by placement of survivors in safe, permanent housing
without the abuser; there has been a notable increase with the implementation of this
program since 2018.
Much like healing trauma and abuse, finding affordable, safe housing is crucial to
helping survivors reduce the possibility of future violence. Research indicates that
families that receive a housing subsidy after exiting homelessness are far less likely to
experience interpersonal violence than those that do not. Having an affordable place to
call home is crucial for this population, to both reduce their risk of homelessness as well
as the possibility of future violence.
We urge victims to leave their abusers, we even go so far as to tell them they must
leave, yet where should they go? Survivors are entitled to a clear pathway to housing
that will help them get back on the road to self-sufficiency.