Tennessee Coalition Empowers Elise with Economic Lifeline

EliseFYSB recognizes the importance of supporting domestic abuse survivors, even after they have successfully left an abusive relationship. That's why FYSB's Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA) funds agencies such as the Tenneesee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.  Elise is one of the many people who have been helped by the FVPSA.

Elise had endured an abusive relationship for almost eight years before she had the means to move to an apartment of her own and begin a new life free of violence. Through starting a job as a restaurant server, she was able to earn enough income to pay for the apartment deposit and the first month's rent. As her community faced economic hardship, however, the restaurant, like many other local businesses, had to reduce staff and hours. Elise was one of several employees to lose her job.

In paying the apartment deposit and rent, Elise had spent all of her savings, and had not been working long enough to build an emergency fund. At the risk of becoming homeless, she visited a local domestic violence shelter, where an advocate told her about the Abuse Survivors Emergency Assistance Fund, a program of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. After the shelter advocate recommended Elise for consideration for the Fund, Coalition staff reviewed her situation and decided to help her with emergency rental assistance. The Coalition's timely support allowed Elise to  keep her affordable housing, so that a temporary setback would not force her to consider returning to her abuser, or become homeless.  Expressing gratitude, Elise said, “[T]hey saved my life when I first arrived at shelter; getting help with my rent from the Tennessee Coalition Emergency Assistance Fund has saved me again."

Unfortunately, Elise’s story is not unique. Many domestic violence survivors lack access to affordable housing and the economic resources they need to not only escape abuse, but also avoid facing the untenable choice between homelessness and returning to further violence. As an advocate from the Tennessee Coalition stated, “Affordable housing is a vital resource for victims. It is an opportunity for them to rebuild their lives and start again.”

To learn more about the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, visit their webpage.

To learn more about how the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program supports state domestic violence coalitions to help survivors with economic advocacy and other services, read the State Domestic Violence Coalition Fact Sheet.