by Bekka Bloom, Development
We were unable to meet the meeds of 147 people who called our crisis line for emergency shelter because ours was full.
A mom with two children contacts Dove House late at night via our 24/7 Crisis Line and explains that she is feeling unsafe from her abusive spouse. Because of local donations, our advocates are able to arrange for her and her children to stay in a hotel room overnight.
In the morning, she meets with an advocate to do a lethality assessment (a test on the seriousness of the situation)and create a safety plan and it becomes clear that she needs continuing emergency shelter. We have a shelter room open, but it is in the process of Covid-required cleaning—so we pay for another few nights in the hotel room. As the family left home abruptly and in fear, they need food, clothing, and personal hygiene products.
During their initial days in our shelter, the family begins to recover from the trauma of violence and dislocation and attend to the practicalities of children moving to a new school and setting up appointments to access services. With 24-hour access to their room and shared common spaces and all basic needs provided, the shelter becomes their temporary home. Mom meets with her advocate at least weekly, and children are offered their own separate advocate if they wish. They will all struggle with a range of emotions including shame, grief, and anger as they process the changes in their life circumstances and encounter barriers.
At Dove House we acknowledge and respond to the ways in which the effects of trauma create challenges for leading healthy lives
- Crisis Intervention & 24/7 Crisis Line
- Emergency Housing for Victims of Domestic Violence – All Basic Needs Provided
- Transitional Housing Program
- Help Obtaining Long-Term Affordable Housing
- Advocacy Services for Safety
- Planning, Healing and Rebuilding Lives
- Support Groups & Classes
- Community Outreach & Education
Dove House advocates offer a listening ear and emotional support and connect mom with services and resources to help her reach her goals. The family continues to regain emotional health, perhaps with the help of a therapist provided with funding from Dove House and/or in conjunction with participation in one of our support groups.
Over the next weeks and months, mom will set her own goals such as searching for long-term housing and employment and/or obtaining childcare and needed documents. She may have to cope with attempts by her spouse to locate and intimidate her or her children. Survivors of domestic violence have often been extremely isolated and without access to the tools for building a self-sufficient life such as a bank account or driver’s license. Because of the housing crisis in Jefferson County, it may take this family more than eight months to find affordable place to live and they may need to move out of the area leaving behind their established support system.
While mom looks for housing, she starts to build a new support system for herself by participating in Recovery Café where she develops healthy relationships in a safe environment. Her children join her for the weekly nutritious free meals. She joins a Recovery Circle where she processes her daily life challenges with peers who have similar experiences. Getting her food worker card and volunteering at the RC kitchen is one option she explores as she looks ahead to the next steps on her family’s journey. Clients may stay in, and return to, Dove House services for as long as they need. Services are confidential and free of charge.