According to the Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness, U.S. Conference of Mayors (2012), domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families in the United States. Research shows that housing is one of the main needs identified by survivors at the time of shelter entry.
Domestic violence is devastating and costly for the families we serve as well as for the local communities striving to help anyone in crisis. The experiences of domestic violence, poverty, and homelessness can seriously disrupt the well-being of a family including their connections to community support.
ACF has an important role in helping families struggling with domestic violence. The toll of domestic violence on a child’s wellbeing is life changing; unfortunately, children who witness domestic violence in their homes often experience other adverse childhood events, increasing the risk of subsequent health and behavioral difficulties.
The most meaningful steps that state and Federal program administrators can take to address domestic violence include ensuring that all health and human service providers have the capacity to:
- Recognize the impact of domestic violence;
- Respond effectively with trauma-informed strategies; and
- Safely link families to domestic violence services.
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funds life-saving domestic violence shelter and other support services in states, territories and Tribes. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA Program) in the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) administers these funds. One of our primary goals is to engage with federal agencies to address domestic violence which cuts across so many program areas.
The FVPSA Program co-chairs the Domestic Violence Subcommittee of the Ending Homelessness Interagency Work Group, along with the Office of Violence against Women in the Department of Justice (DOJ). The Domestic Violence Subcommittee brings together federal agencies to focus on the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness. The group is committed to coordinating training and technical assistance for HUD, OVW and FVPSA grantees on this issue including:
- Office on Violence of Crimes in DOJ Visit disclaimer page ,
- Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAPS) Visit disclaimer page in Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Office of Women’s Health in Department of Health and Human Services
We are also proud to share that the FVPSA Program’s technical assistance center, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, compiles and develops relevant resources such as white papers and case studies that can be found in the resources section on the FVPSA website and through the national online clearinghouse on violence against women, http://vawnet.org Visit disclaimer page .
For Immediate Help
For more information on the homelessness and domestic violence, we recommend the following resources.
- Domestic Violence, Homelessness and Housing: Statistics Visit disclaimer page , National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: a compilation of the findings from research on the intersection of domestic violence, homelessness and housing. (6/2015)
- The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Homelessness Visit disclaimer page , Linda Olsen, Chiquita Rollins, and Kris Billhardt for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Volunteers of America Home Free Program (June 2013): This paper provides a historical context of domestic violence and homelessness and outlines how housing/homeless and domestic violence movements have and continue to intersect. (12 pages)
- Housing: Safety, Stability and Dignity for Survivors of Domestic Violence Visit disclaimer page , Linda Olsen, Chiquita Rollins, and Kris Billhardt for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Volunteers of America Home Free Program (June 2013): This paper contains information on the importance of housing stability for survivors of domestic violence and lays the foundation for establishing effective systems to address housing and homeless issues
- Closing the Gap: Integrating Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence Experiencing Homelessness - A Toolkit for Transitional Housing Program Visit disclaimer page
"Housing First" Approach Visit disclaimer page : emphasizes stable, permanent housing as a primary strategy for ending homelessness.
- Domestic Violence Housing First Video: The Family Resource Center Visit disclaimer page This short video, made by WSCADV and 9 Elephants Productions, shows how one program in Washington state is developing community relationships and expanding services to address the unique needs of survivors who are facing homelessness and housing instability.
- Domestic Violence Housing First (DVHF) Program Final Evaluation Report :WSCADV’s Domestic Violence Housing First program increased the safety and well-being of survivors and their children and had a direct impact on their housing stability, often without substantial financial assistance. The report includes key evaluation findings from Cohort 2’s three years of DVHF programming. (2/2015)
- Additional Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Resources
- National Alliance to End Homelessness Resources Visit disclaimer page