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Q: I left my abuser but now I’m struggling to find a place for my children and I to live. Where do we turn? – Tasha C.
Tasha, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. My first hope is that you’re in a safer place now than you were before. And my second hope is that you can find a permanent safe place for yourself and your children.
Many survivors find themselves struggling with this very issue. Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness overall, and one study, by the National Center for Children in Poverty, found that among mothers with children experiencing homelessness, 80 percent had previously experienced domestic violence.
We also know this—removing your children from a home where abuse is occurring will dramatically impact their future in a positive way. Childhood domestic violence can have lifelong consequences. These can be overcome with awareness and proper support, such as counseling, but you should still give yourself proper credit for getting your children out of that situation.
Brian Pinaro, vice president of development and strategic initiatives for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, says he remembers when Vice President Joe Biden came to the Hotline in 2013 to talk about the growing epidemic of homelessness and domestic violence. “He said it was often safer for [a survivor] to live in her car on the street than in her home. It’s heartbreaking, but it happens more often than people realize.”
Pinaro says your best resource may be your local domestic violence shelter or organization. “It’s really the hub of everything—legal, housing and financial help. They all intersect. There are people there who understand how all those things work in coming together to help you.”
Your local shelter may be able to help you find temporary or transitional housing in your community until you can secure the resources to find more permanent housing. They can help educate you about any state-specific programs that exist that are specifically designed to assist you in finding and affording housing. Most of all, they’ll help you safety plan so that returning to your abuser isn’t an option.
For more information, please also check out the articles in our Housing section on DomesticShelters.org. Good luck, Tasha.
Ask Amanda is meant to offer helpful resources and information about domestic violence. If in crisis, please reach out to your nearest domestic violence shelter for the guidance of a trained advocate.
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