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A Unique Vulnerability
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During 2013, domestic violence programs in Connecticut served 56,000 people. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence are joining forces to more effectively serve the shared need for permanent housing within their unique populations.
A Unique Vulnerability

In a recent interview with this author, Karen Jarmoc of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) and Lisa Tepper-Bates of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH) described the overlap between domestic violence and homelessness. Service providers responding to survivors of domestic violence were not fully aware of resources available for rapid rehousing of people who are suddenly experiencing homelessness or their proven efficacy; and homelessness service providers did not fully comprehend the social, economic, physical and emotional vulnerability of survivors of domestic violence. They resolved this issue by working together to educate each other, agreeing upon a common core set of principles and best practices, and finding ways to better serve their respective clients.

“We take our cue from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, who recommended that homelessness advocates establish a relationship with mainstream providers of services for victims of domestic violence,” said Lisa Tepper-Bates of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. “We want to establish universal principles and provide coordinated access for domestic violence victims -- they come in and get in a single pipeline and get the 'A' team immediately. Our objective is to really work together.”

Karen Jarmoc of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence spelled out how she saw the collaboration taking shape. “First, we want to capture data more efficiently. Second, we want to find common principles and form a stronger collaboration around those principles. We know that housing needs can keep domestic violence victims in place. So, three, we need rapid rehousing money to get these people immediately stabilized in temporary housing and get permanent housing resources within two to three months. And then, fourth, we link to community-based services like counseling and court advocates.”

Lisa Tepper Bates continued: “It makes for a better end-of-story for those who have endured this trauma. More collaboration means better outcomes. We have a better understanding and we get quick triage and they get the correct resources in a timely way. It is about breaking down the silos.”

Headlines of an increase in domestic violence as revealed in a CCEH point-in-time survey for 2013 made news across the state in October. It seemed like every story pointed out that the CCDAV’s reported 56,000 domestic violence clients served in 2013 was a lot for a small state. Karen Jarmoc commented: “These numbers have been very stable. We saw a slight increase in 2009. But economic hard times mean that families don’t have ‘extra’ money for counseling and there are additional money-related stressors.”

Lisa Tepper-Bates fully understands the resource she and Connecticut housing advocates have available to them in the CCADV. “They are the experts for those people who are not safe. They are uniquely positioned to determine who needs to be treated within the domestic violence framework, whose needs can best be met with shared, mainstream resources, not agency by agency.”

Both Jarmoc and Tepper-Bates are determined to harness all the resources available. “This is a new collaboration, but we must achieve. She [Jarmoc] has a very wide angle,” Tepper-Bates stated. Recently, CCADV received a $10,000 grant to assist the Coalition in reaching its partnership goals through the implementation of a screening tool to better identify domestic violence within their patient population. CCADV’s comprehensive approach to victim services offers counseling, group support, safety planning, court advocacy, and emergency shelter, among other forms of assistance. To learn more, please visit: http://www.ctcadv.org/

Source:
“Verizon Wireless Presents HopeLine Grant to Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence” Ted Glanzer, October 28, 2013. Retrieved online:
http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20140106/PRINTEDITION/301029947

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