The YWCA and the City of Lawrence recently received a federal grant to provide transitional, short-term housing assistance and support services to individuals fleeing domestic violence. This grant provided by the Office for Violence Against Women (OVW) will also help those victims of sexual assault, dating, or stalking violence.
The vision of this funding is to create a robust safety net for survivors of domestic violence by supporting existing transitional housing, increasing transitional housing and service availability, creating a network of landlords amenable to providing transitional housing for program participants, and empowering victims through workforce development to move toward self-sufficiency.
The proposed project is a direct response to the high prevalence of domestic violence and the compelling need for all services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault living in Lawrence and surrounding Essex County communities.
An indicator of the Greater Lawrence community’s need is the number of filings for protective/restraining orders brought to Lawrence District Court, where the YWCA employs two full-time bi-lingual Court Advocates.
YWCA will partner with The City of Lawrence and MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center to bring six additional units of transitional housing and support services for survivors of domestic violence in the city of Lawrence. MassHire will give participants access to workforce development and job training programs. “The YWCA believes providing safe, affordable housing to survivors and their families is key to empowering families to heal and move towards self-sufficiency,” said Sue Staples, Executive Director.
Mayor Daniel Rivera believes that “survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking, can face many challenges when it comes to housing security. These challenges have been further exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the housing and financial instability that many of our residents are experiencing. Access to safe and supportive housing is critical in a survivor’s journey to healing and self-sufficiency, and we’re pleased to collaborate with the YWCA on this federal grant to help provide transitional housing assistance to insecure victims of violence, giving them one less thing to worry about as they plant their feet into the ground.”
“As someone who worked with survivors of domestic and sexual violence for many years, and who now supports the creation and preservation of safe, affordable and accessible housing and homelessness prevention in my current role, I understand and value the importance of partnership like this one with the YWCA of Northeastern MA. It is imperative that we provide much-needed housing opportunities to survivors of those in crisis,” said Vilma Martinez-Dominguez, Community Development Director for the City of Lawrence.
The YWCA will work closely with the City of Lawrence employees and the MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center to provide additional case management services and job search assistance, respectively.