Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness among women and children. Access to safe, stable, affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing survivors of domestic violence. In 2019, Journey Home joined forces with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) a membership organization founded in 1978 to work with Connecticut’s 18 domestic violence service agencies in offering critical support to domestic violence survivors. Under CCADV’s new statewide initiative, Rapid Rehousing funds are being designated for survivors, with Journey Home and domestic violence shelter case managers working together with survivors to find new homes and a new start for themselves and their children. Rapid Rehousing funds are able to pay first month rent and security deposit, along with ongoing case management and rental assistance for up to a year, allowing survivors an opportunity to get themselves stabilized in their new home, often with a safety plan of total anonymity in a new town, providing a safe haven from their past and their perpetrator.
None of this could be possible without the goodwill and big hearts of the landlords we appeal to in our search of safe and affordable homes. Due to the anonymity of the program, the landlords do not know the background of these women’s stories and yet we continue to find landlords willing to trust and take a chance on these women, despite the fact that these survivors, due to their situation are often un/under-employed, and that our program’s assistance is only temporary.
In one remarkable situation, an apartment was found in Bristol for one of our survivors who not only was fleeing domestic violence, but has an autistic son, another child and is battling a terminal cancer diagnosis. The landlord, intuiting some of her circumstances, accepted her application on the spot when she went to visit the apartment with shelter and Journey Home staff. The following week, however, this woman was accepted for a permanent housing voucher closer to where she was receiving medical treatment, and ultimately decided that this was an opportunity she could not refuse. Remembering the kind heart of the Bristol landlord, we reached back out to him with another survivor in mind, a woman who was currently staying in a shelter in Enfield and who, after years of surviving domestic violence, was anxious about ever being able to find a safe, affordable home for herself and her son. Without hesitation, this landlord agreed, meeting the new survivor at the house just after Christmas and allowing her and her son to move in on New Year’s Day. When asked how she likes the apartment she told us, “I do like the apartment. It’s perfect for us. I’m already imagining myself sitting on the balcony with a cup of tea looking up at the stars in the night sky in the spring.”