• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

    Supportive Housing: A Lifeline for Domestic Violence Survivors

    ByEmma Wolukau-Wanambwa

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

    Amidst a colorful garden at a supportive housing complex in Fairbanks, Alaska, lies the remarkable journey of Brynn Butler. After leaving an abusive relationship, she found herself homeless, turning to methamphetamines as a coping mechanism. Eventually, she hit rock bottom and realized that she needed to make a change. Seeking refuge at the Interior Alaska Center for Non-violent Living, Butler was placed in transitional housing, supported by the center’s staff. Witnessing her transformation, they offered her a job, enabling her to work towards independent living. Today, she serves as the housing coordinator for the city of Fairbanks, playing a crucial role in providing transitional services for others in need.

    Butler’s story is not unique. Like her, many survivors of domestic violence are trapped in a cycle of abuse and homelessness, making it challenging to escape their situations. Housing instability, caused by economic sabotage from abusers, contributes to poor credit, rental and employment histories – barriers that hinder survivors from finding safe and stable housing options.

    While emergency shelters provide temporary relief, they are not a long-term solution. To combat this, various housing models exist – from transitional housing, which offers low-income housing managed by shelters or nonprofits, to permanent supportive housing for survivors who face ongoing threats to their safety.

    In Fairbanks, however, finding affordable housing is a daunting task. Landlords often prefer tenants with good credit or military families over those with evictions or criminal records, perpetuating the struggle for survivors. This scarcity has prompted the Interior Alaska Center for Non-violent Living to manage 20 units of supportive housing, providing survivors like S. with a lifeline. The secure environment, personalized spaces, and necessary support systems offer solace and contribute to their overall healing.

    Looking ahead, Michelle Hicks, the center’s housing director, emphasizes the need for more managed housing to meet the growing demand. Housing, she asserts, is a vital component that impacts all areas of a person’s life.

    Through housing, support, and empowerment, organizations like the Interior Alaska Center for Non-violent Living are paving the way for a brighter, more hopeful future for domestic violence survivors.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What is supportive housing?

    Supportive housing refers to a housing model that provides not only shelter but also various forms of support, such as counseling, case management, and access to healthcare services. It is designed to meet the specific needs of vulnerable populations, including survivors of domestic violence.

    How does housing instability impact survivors of domestic violence?

    Housing instability resulting from economic sabotage by abusers can make it extremely challenging for survivors of domestic violence to secure safe and stable long-term housing. Poor credit, rental, and employment histories, as well as evictions and criminal records, often make it difficult to find rental properties and maintain economic stability.

    Why are affordable housing options limited in Fairbanks, Alaska?

    Affordable housing scarcity in Fairbanks can be attributed to various factors, including landlords converting properties into more lucrative short-term rentals. Additionally, preference is often given to tenants with good credit or military families, making it harder for survivors with housing vouchers to find housing options.

    What are the different types of housing options available for survivors of domestic violence?

    There are several housing options available for survivors of domestic violence, including emergency shelters, transitional housing, independent living with the help of housing vouchers, and permanent supportive housing. Each option caters to different stages of recovery and provides varying levels of support and security.

    What is the role of supportive housing in the healing process for survivors?

    Supportive housing offers survivors a safe and secure environment where they can rebuild their lives away from their abusers. The provision of individualized spaces, ongoing support, and necessary resources contributes to their healing and helps them regain control over their lives.