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Responding to Violence Against Women through a Housing First Program. Volunteers of America, Oregon Home Free Kris Billhardt [email protected] Caveats and Disclaimers.

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Responding to violence against women through a housing first program l.jpg

Responding to Violence Against Women through a Housing First Program

Volunteers of America, Oregon

Home Free

Kris Billhardt

[email protected]

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Caveats and Disclaimers First Program

  • Development of new response models does not negate the need for programs that provide immediate safety for DV survivors.

  • This is not a prescription or a miracle solution; simply our experience of change and its benefits.

  • Consider our program’s story as to whether or how it may be applicable in your community to add to options available to DV survivors.

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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DV in Multnomah County First Program

  • 28,000 victims; 3/5 have children

  • Police DV Unit:10,000 reports/year

  • Over 50% of all reported violent crime

  • Largest contributing factor to area homicides

  • Significant factor in 35% of long term child abuse/neglect cases

  • Over 30,000 crisis calls to DV hotlines

  • 15,000 DV shelter bednights annually

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Link Between DV and Housing Stability First Program

  • Poor women experience DV at higher rates and have fewer resources with which to seek/maintain safe and stable housing

  • 46% of homeless women report having stayed in an abusive relationship because they had nowhere else to go

  • 38% of all DV survivors become homeless at some point

  • DV’s effects can dramatically impact the ability to obtain/maintain stable housing, incl. physical and mental health, employment, education, and connection to social supports

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Link Between DV and Housing Stability II First Program

  • Homelessness is only one end of a continuum of housing problems faced by women experiencing DV

    • Missed or late payments for rent/utilities

    • Compromises: selling belongings or skipping food to make payments

    • Ruined credit

    • Apartment damage

    • Discrimination based on status as victims

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Link Between DV and Housing Stability III First Program

  • Obstacles to affordable housing may seem insurmountable; many remain with or return to abuser

  • High density/high violence in public housing complexes may place women at continued risk

  • Chronicity of DV results in repeated choice between homelessness and abuse

  • Denials, evictions, lease terminations based on violence/ abuser interference

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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  • VOA Home Free – History First Program

  • 1926: VOA est. Mothers and Children’s Home to serve “abandoned” women and children

  • DV became focal in the 70’s

  • Family Center/

  • Transition House, 1989

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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VOA Home Free – History II First Program

1998 – The Beginnings of Change

Outreach component added to residential service elements

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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  • Home Free’s Big Change First Program:

  • October, 2003

  • Closed Shelter

  • Hotline hours reduced to 8AM- 6PM M-F

  • Expanded motel vouchering

  • Expanded housing-focused services

  • Expanded outstationed services and mobile advocacy

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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VOA Home Free – Program Design First Program

Emergency Services

Out-stationed Services

Children’s Services

Transitional and Housing Services

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Housing First First Program

  • Stresses immediate return to permanent, neighborhood-based housing, along with 6-12 months of individualized support to ensure retention (Portland Community Standard)

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Housing First Research Findings First Program

  • Homeless individuals more likely to sustain housing when given a permanent home

  • Vulnerable/at-risk families more responsive to interventions and community supports after in their own housing

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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The Case for Housing First with DV Survivors First Program

  • Finding and keeping housing one of greatest barriers faced by women who leave abusers

  • Research suggests that women who secure housing reduce chances of revictimization

  • Women linked with advocates during post-crisis period report higher quality of life, more social supports, and less re-abuse

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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VOA Home Free’s Housing First Program First Program

  • Staffed by 5 mobile advocates

  • Budget includes $175,000 in direct client assistance funds

  • Capacity: 80-100 households/yr (8-12 per advocate) in housing program

  • Duration of services: Up to two years

  • Scattered-site model (private market or public housing)

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Referrals to Home Free Housing Services First Program

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Participant Flow Through Housing Services First Program

MILESTONE 1

First contact. Focus: Response to immediate needs.

DESTINATION

Full life not defined by DV. Financially stable, making own choices, capable self- advocate.

MILESTONE 2

Intake. Focus: taking steps on short term plan, housing search.

  • Eligibility:

  • Surviving DV/SA

  • Immediate crisis stabilized.

  • Housing stabilization a primary need.

  • Financial resourcefulness compromised by DV/ other barriers

MILESTONE 6

Focus: Embedding pattern of financial self sufficiency. Increased sense of personal power and resourcefulness.

MILESTONE 3

Housing obtained. Focus: Addressing issues/needs that better ensure retention.

MILESTONE 5

Transition to permanency. Focus: Discontinue reliance on subsidy.

MILESTONE 4

Active work on long-term goals. Focus: taking increasing responsibility for finances and systems navigation.

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Advocacy Services Include: First Program(You Name it!)

  • Accompaniment, home visits

  • Housing search, job search, job training referrals

  • Danger Assessments and safety planning

  • Direct financial assistance

  • Intervention/case coordination with other systems

  • Advocacy with landlords, Housing Authority

  • Linkages to civil legal and immigration law services

  • Direct services to children

  • Help with budgeting, goal planning

  • DV and parenting support groups

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Who We Are Serving First Program

  • Average Age of Adults served: 30

    Age Range of adults: 17 – 54

  • Race/Ethnicity:

    • 31% white (79.2% in population)

    • 29% Latino (9% in population)

    • 28% African-American (5.7% in population)

    • 9% Native American (1% in population)

    • 1% Asian (.4% in population)

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Who We Are Serving II First Program

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Early Results First Program

89%

Obtained

Housing

92% remain

in housing

Avg. time in

housing TD:

13 mo.

(range 1 – 30

mo.)

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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A Study of the Effectiveness of a Housing Intervention for Battered Women

  • A cooperative agreement between Multnomah County Domestic Violence Coordinator’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Study Purpose: Evaluate the effectiveness, including cost-effectiveness, of an existing permanent housing program provided by VOA Home Free in preventing revictimization and reducing negative health outcomes of survivors of IPVand their children.

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Study Design Battered Women

  • Participants: Women domestic violence victims, age 18-64, who speak English or Spanish

  • Study begins at “post-crisis” stage of service delivery

  • Data collected (baseline, 6, 12, and 18 months):

    • Outcomes for women and their children

    • Cost of domestic violence and cost effectiveness of the housing models

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Study Design II Battered Women

  • Intervention group: VOA Home Free housing program (housing first plus DV advocacy)

  • Comparison groups:

    • VOA Home Free Mobile Advocacy Services (limited or no rent assistance + DV advocacy)

    • Raphael House of Portland (emergency shelter with DV advocacy)

    • DHS Self Sufficiency TA-DVS Program (short-term housing assistance + limited DV advocacy)

    • Portland Impact Safety Net (housing first + limited DV advocacy)

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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Importance of the Research Project Battered Women

  • Current housing research doesn’t consider effectiveness of housing first for DV victims

  • Current DV research doesn’t consider impact of housing instability on victim’s ability to stay safe or on children’s outcomes

  • Funding priorities at OVW and HUD shifting to longer-term housing and to “proven practices”

  • Some housing policy creates barriers for victims and their children

  • Study can demonstrate need to expand range of housing options for survivors and their children

Volunteers of America, Oregon - Home Free


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