Image source: Focus on the Family
Domestic violence continues to plague households, and victims are given very little comfort as finding a place to escape has been one of the biggest problems.
In Oregon, domestic violence service providers have highlighted the need for shelters to accommodate those fleeing their abusers.
Jayne Downing, executive director of the Salem Center for Hope and Security, said:
“The housing crisis has really had an impact on victims and survivors of violence. Being able to access housing can be incredibly difficult.”
The Oregon Alliance to End Violence Against Women collected data and found that between June 2021 and July 2022 in Oregon, 6,610 service requests were not met.
In the same window, 90,914 calls for help were made to service providers nationwide. Only 5,245 survivors were housed and provided with emergency shelters.
Meanwhile, a day-long national survey of domestic violence providers in Oregon found that as of Sept. 9, 2021, 1,100 victims and survivors had sought help.
They then received services.
Of the service requests, 622 were able to find emergency shelters.
The investigation also revealed that on that day alone, there were 127 unfulfilled service requests, 80% of which were housing issues.
The weight of the calls
For many, inciting domestic violence is a matter of life and death.
A survivor and mother of two told her story in Spanish. For security reasons, you have asked to remain anonymous.
“I remember when I left, I was desperate and thought, ‘Wow, I will need to sleep on the streets,’ I’m homeless, so I started calling,” she recounted.
The survivor said her life was in danger as she left with her three-month-old baby and 24-year-old daughter.
She was able to get help through Northwest Family Services in Clackamas County.
“They helped me so much,” shared the survivor.
“I have rent covered; I’m looking for work; and my daughter already has a job.”
Housing assistance for victims
Three years ago, during the 2020 legislative session, the Oregon Legislature approved $6 million for victims of domestic violence across the state.
The decision marked the first time that Oregon dedicated funds specifically to housing Oregon’s domestic violence service providers.
The money should cover everything from rent to credit repairs, security deposits, or emergency hotel accommodations.
“They are all facing being able to figure out ‘where do I go,’ ‘how do I access that housing,’ and then ‘how do I have the funds’ – very often, they are dependent on their partner,” said Downing.
This year, supporters are calling on lawmakers to renew the $6 million in funding.
Housing crisis affects those fleeing domestic violence in Oregon