• Mon. Dec 11th, 2023

    Providing Stable Housing: A Lifeline for Domestic Violence Survivors

    ByJames Forsyth

    Nov 20, 2023
    Providing Stable Housing: A Lifeline for Domestic Violence Survivors

    After escaping an abusive relationship, Brynn Butler found herself homeless with her children. Battling addiction to methamphetamines, she hit rock bottom, but a fateful decision changed her life. Seeking help at the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living, Butler was provided with transitional housing in Fairbanks. This safe haven allowed her to quit drugs and regain stability.

    Butler’s story is not unique. Survivors of domestic violence often face numerous obstacles in securing housing, as abusers frequently sabotage their victims’ economic stability. This results in poor credit, rental and employment histories, making it difficult for them to find affordable housing. Lack of stable housing options can lead to individuals returning to their abusers or finding themselves in other dangerous situations.

    Low-income housing is vital for survivors to rebuild their lives following domestic violence. However, in Fairbanks and across Alaska, it is scarce. The Interior Center for Non-Violent Living is the only low-barrier shelter in the area, and even though they have funding available to help survivors, the lack of available housing remains a significant obstacle.

    Kara Carlson, the interim director of the center, explained that transitioning survivors from shelters to independent living or supportive housing is challenging due to the limited supply of rental properties. Many landlords favor military families or tenants with good credit, further marginalizing survivors with eviction or criminal records resulting from their abusive situations.

    Financial abuse is often a manifestation of domestic violence, with survivors frequently lacking credit or rental histories. As primary caretakers, they also face the challenge of finding suitable housing for their children. These barriers make it crucial to establish more supportive housing options for survivors.


    What role does transitional housing play for domestic violence survivors?

    Transitional housing provides survivors of domestic violence with a temporary and safe place to stay as they rebuild their lives by offering stability, support, and resources.

    Why is secure housing essential for survivors?

    Stable housing is crucial for survivors as it provides them with a foundation to rebuild their lives and regain independence. It offers a safe environment, enhances their well-being, and helps them break the cycle of abuse.

    What challenges do survivors face in securing housing?

    Survivors often encounter difficulties due to poor credit, limited rental and employment histories, and continued threats to their safety. Landlords’ reluctance to rent to individuals with eviction or criminal records further exacerbates the situation.

    What can be done to address the lack of stable housing for domestic violence survivors?

    Addressing the shortage of affordable housing requires collaboration among policymakers, community organizations, and landlords. The implementation of stronger tenant protection laws and increasing the availability of supportive housing options are critical steps in ensuring survivors have access to safe and stable homes.