Housing Programs at REACH
Housing First and Transitional Housing Introduction
Housing First and Transitional Housing are survivor driven programs that use grant funding to assist Domestic Violence (DV) and Sexual Assault (SA) survivors in getting into stable/safe housing as soon as possible, and provide them with the support and resources needed to get back on track and become self-sustainable. We work within an empowerment model; which means we believe survivors are resourceful adults and are the experts in their own lives. While housing first may be used for a security deposit, first month’s rent, or certain other costs associated with maintaining or getting into safe housing in a short-term capacity, Transitional housing is a longer-term program that can help survivors who need more involved assistance get back on their feet. Minimum qualifications for these programs are:
- applicant to be a survivor of DV/SA;
- and at least 18 years old or a legally emancipated minor.
How it Benefits Landlords
Landlords gain the opportunity to participate in a partnership that could allow them to quickly fill vacant units with tenants who have been taught financial literacy and provided with the resources and support needed to be a good tenant. They may also access program support from advocates and are guaranteed on time payment for any rental or security deposit payments that the YWCA has agreed to take responsibility for
Over the past few years there has been an increasing housing shortage in NH. In December 2020, home sales went up by 25% and the median cost went up by $50,000. These costs can continue to rise because there is such a high demand, giving buyers no leverage to negotiate. Russ Thibeault, an economist in NH, has stated we need approximately 20,000 additional housing units to balance out the supply and demand. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There is a consistent reluctance to allow the zoning needed to build these additional homes. There is an upside for sellers and landlords though, people want to buy and quickly, and rental rates have not been lowered for apartment units. In addition to the lack of available housing, the COVID-19 Pandemic has only amplified the states homelessness problem. With lost jobs and limited space in shelters to accommodate safety protocols, there is an increasing need for housing and housing assistance.
Domestic Violence and Homelessness- Domestic Violence (DV) is one of the leading causes of homelessness in the United States. When we talk about homelessness, many picture the tent communities they’ve seen around the city, but that’s not all it is. It’s “couch surfing”, living in your car, staying in a cheap hotel until you run out of funds, often giving up other necessities to maintain this, and even living in homeless and domestic violence shelters. Survivors are often forced to choose between escaping abuse, and having a place to sleep at night. A very common but lesser discussed tactic for control over someone is financial abuse. Many don’t even realize this is a form of abuse, but it is often identified as the main reason survivors remain in or return to an abusive relationship. This can include taking their money or keeping them on an allowance, not paying rent/bills when the abuser said they would/did, building debt in their name and damaging credit, causing them to miss work and potentially get fired or lose hours, or not allowing them to get a job in the first place, and more. When a survivor is forced to be financially dependent on their abuser, someone who is also harming them physically or mentally, leaving becomes even more difficult that it was to begin with. Survivors are stuck trying to figure out how they will find housing, pay for food, keep their phone on so they aren’t cut off from their support system and service providers, wondering how to provide for their kids and fearing they could lose custody, or trying to find dependable transportation, all while trying not to get caught finding these answers as it could make the situation so much worse. The factors discussed in this article make it exponentially more difficult to find housing as when a landlord sees bad credit, debt, and evictions, the blame is placed on the survivor. This is why we work to help survivors navigate these barriers and hope that by forming relationships with landlords and discussing these issues, we can help get survivors into safe and permanent housing.
Info for Community Partners
If you have clients who may benefit from our program you can ask them if they may be interested and refer them to call us to learn more and apply.
Call to Action for Landlords
Our clients are faced with barriers that make it difficult to obtain housing, including isolation from family and friends and financial abuse (which can include ruining credit, forcing victim to lose employment, creating hostile environments which cause them to move frequently—thus ruining rental history). We ask that landlords understand the circumstances that lead to any bad rental history and consider the work our clients are putting in when they apply for their units and are using our program. If you think you may be interested in learning more or even forming a partnership with us, please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with a member of our housing programs team.
Disclaimer for Survivors
If you are a survivor who thinks they may benefit from these programs, please reach out via our hotline number or resource connect to speak with an advocate about eligibility and apply. To protect confidentiality, we ask that you do not reach out via email. Language services are available for those who may need them.
YWCA NH Housing First Project is funded through NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV). It is supported by Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding that is administered by NH DOJ while the Transitional Housing Program is funded through the Office on Violence Against Women grant funding.
Domestic Violence and Housing-what housing and homeless organizations need to know: Powerpoint produced by Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Power and Control Wheel image PowerandControl.pdf (theduluthmodel.org)