Karen Jarmoc of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) and Lisa Tepper-Bates of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) described the overlap between domestic violence and homelessness.
Service providers responding to survivors of domestic violence were not fully aware of rapid rehousing resources or their proven effectiveness; homelessness service providers did not fully comprehend the social, economic, physical and emotional vulnerability of survivors of domestic violence. They resolved this issue by working together to educate each other, agreeing upon a common core set of principles and best practices, and finding ways to better serve their respective clients.
“We take our cue from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, who recommended that homelessness advocates establish a relationship with mainstream providers of services for victims of domestic violence,” said Lisa Tepper-Bates of the CCEH. “We want to establish universal principles and provide coordinated access for domestic violence victims. They come in and get in a single pipeline and get the ‘A’ team immediately. Our objective is to really work together.”
Jarmoc spoke about how she saw the collaboration taking shape. “First, we want to capture data more efficiently. Second, we want to find common principles and form a stronger collaboration around those principles. We know that housing needs can keep domestic violence victims in place. So, three, we need rapid rehousing money to get these people immediately stabilized in temporary housing and get permanent housing resources within two to three months. And then, fourth, we link to community-based services like counseling and court advocates.”
“It makes for a better end-of-story for those who have endured this trauma. More collaboration means better outcomes. We have a better understanding and we get quick triage and they get the correct resources in a timely way. It is about breaking down the silos,” Tepper-Bates said.
Headlines reporting an increase in homelessness linked to domestic violence, as indicated through a CCEH point-in-time survey for 2013, made news across the state in October. Many stories noted that the CCADV’s report of serving 56,000 domestic violence clients in 2013 seemed to be a lot for a small state. “These numbers have been very stable. We saw a slight increase in 2009. But economic hard times mean that families don’t have ‘extra’ money for counseling and there are additional money-related stressors,” Jarmoc said.
Tepper-Bates fully understands the resource that she and Connecticut housing advocates have available to them in the CCADV. “They are the experts for those people who are not safe. They are uniquely positioned to determine who needs to be treated within the domestic violence framework, whose needs can best be met with shared, mainstream resources, not agency by agency.”
Both Jarmoc and Tepper-Bates are determined to harness all the resources available. “This is a new collaboration, but we must achieve. She [Jarmoc] has a very wide angle,” Tepper-Bates stated.
In 2014, CCADV received a $10,000 grant from Verizon Wireless to help it reach its partnership goals. The funds would help implement a screening tool to better identify domestic violence within their patient population. CCADV’s comprehensive approach to victim services offers counseling, group support, safety planning, court advocacy, and emergency shelter, among other forms of assistance.
This article was originally published to highlight the theme of Minority Behavioral Health Issues.
Learn how SAMHSA addresses the impact of trauma and violence on individuals, families, and communities as a behavioral health concern.
Access more behavioral health and homelessness resources.