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Crossroads Innovates Work with Homeless Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence is known to be a leading cause of homelessness, but domestic violence service providers tend to focus on immediate safety and crisis intervention; they often lack capacity to provide robust housing and employment programs that end homelessness for survivors of domestic violence. At the same time, most people experiencing domestic violence that enter homeless shelters do not have immediate access to services and supports tailored to the unique needs of survivors. Crossroads solved this problem by merging with a domestic violence organization and expanding our staff training.
 Young woman looking thoughtfully out a window
 Photo by Jiří Wagner on Unsplash
Domestic violence is known to be a leading cause of homelessness, but domestic violence service providers tend to focus on immediate safety and crisis intervention; they often lack the capacity to provide robust housing and employment programs that end homelessness for survivors of domestic violence.

At the same time, most people experiencing domestic violence that enter homeless shelters do not have immediate access to services and supports tailored to the unique needs of survivors.

In 2013, Crossroads Rhode Island was struggling with the fact that neither population could be served adequately without integration of services. That same year, we were fortunate to undertake an affiliation with a domestic violence agency which resulted in a complete merger of the organizations in July 2016 and allowed us to enhance and expand our services to meet the needs of all homeless people experiencing domestic violence, regardless of where they entered the system.

This has led to an integrated approach that has filled service gaps for clients experiencing domestic violence. Our innovative approach includes the addition of a Domestic Violence Assessment Specialist to our staff. This key employee is trained to identify and assess the needs of people in our emergency shelters and housing programs.

Because the people staying in our domestic violence shelter are in fact homeless, and they share many of the same economic and housing problems as the general homeless population, we use common assessments to identify needs and ensure access to the continuum of care that serves all homeless clients.

Today, our Case Managers and the Domestic Violence Assessment Specialist are cross-trained on domestic violence, as well as trauma-informed care, housing first best practices, common assessments, and safety and confidentiality requirements.

Staff is more effective than ever and prepared to work with all populations experiencing domestic violence issues. Survivors benefit from employment and training, survivor-centered housing services, and home-based case management that empower them to be economically self-sufficient and less likely to return to an abuser due to economic need. Our work has led to a unique integrative model that provides vastly improved services to people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence.

Learn more about our Domestic Violence Program or donate now to help support our work.


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