It happens far too often—women facing domestic violence flee their homes to protect themselves and their children, but have nowhere to go. Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that affects communities across race and class lines, and often leads women into situational homelessness. In fact, studies show that 80 percent of women facing homelessness have experienced domestic violence. At Genesis, it’s our mission to make sure that Dallas women who are facing domestic violence don’t have to choose between living in an abusive situation or being homeless.
Who is most at risk
Domestic violence exists in many forms, including emotional and financial abuse, but at its core, it’s about power and control. Abusers will often exercise power and control by limiting access to finances or providing an “allowance,” making it harder for women to leave. It can be worse for women living in poverty, who are at a far greater risk of experiencing domestic violence and homelessness than their more affluent counterparts.
Women who report their abusers can also face the risk of being evicted from their homes. If the police are called frequently, either by the victim, the abuser or a neighbor, this can unfairly paint the victim in a poor light. This can discourage women from reporting abuse, since they fear that reporting it would alert a landlord who may not be sympathetic to their situation and kick them out. Women of color, gay women, immigrants, women who are geographically isolated and people living with disabilities are also at an increased risk of experiencing domestic violence and homelessness simultaneously.
What Genesis is doing to help
Genesis has created a unique framework of housing services to offer the kind of tailored, compassionate care that victims of domestic violence need when facing abuse. The short- and long-term housing programs that Genesis offers help women maintain a safe, stable place to live after fleeing domestic violence. The emergency shelter offers women six weeks of housing with all of the basic necessities and comforts that they would have at home, assisting them with clothing and assistance. Each person in the shelter receives individual and group therapy, meeting the woman exactly where she is with whatever she may need.
If a woman finds herself and her family needing additional assistance, a long-term housing option, Annie’s House, may be available for transitional housing for up to a year. Both of the housing facilities reside in undisclosed locations to protect the identity of the women who reside at Genesis.
How to get help
If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence of any kind and does not have secure, safe housing, you can reach out to Genesis 24-7 at 214-946-4357(HELP). Genesis understands that every case comes with unique needs, and our team will work to understand your story and find a solution that is right for you. If you’d like to volunteer and help homeless women facing domestic violence, visit genesisshelter.org/get-involved/volunteer/.