Report │Transitional Housing for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence: A 2014-15 Snapshot
The 12 chapters of the Transitional Housing for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence: A 2014-15 Snapshot report comprehensively explore the challenges facing transitional housing programs and the survivors of domestic and sexual violence they serve, the underlying issues and contributing factors, and the diverse approaches that programs take to address those challenges.
Each chapter incorporates hundreds of provider comments from their conversations with AIR staff, with context provided by narrative highlighting and linking to pertinent literature and online resources. Each chapter also includes an appendix describing the project approach and methodology, and a reference list.
Chapter 01 - Definition of Success and Performance Measurement
Explores how funders and providers define and measure success and program performance; how participant-defined goals are tracked; how participant feedback is collected; and how the definition and measurement of success affects program decisions. Highlights innovative performance and participant outcome metrics. Discusses approaches to collecting, storing, releasing, and destroying data, and the software used to collect, analyze, and report on program data.
Chapter 02 - Survivor Access and Participant Selection
Explores the distinct and overlapping roles of domestic violence shelters and transitional housing; the pathways that survivors take to get to transitional housing, and how providers select participants from among "competing" applicants for assistance; why providers might decline to serve certain candidates; who is and isn't served; and the regulatory and legal framework within which those processes occur.
Chapter 03 - Program Housing Models
Explores the strengths and challenges of alternate approaches to housing survivors in transitional housing and transition-in-place programs. Examines the pros and cons of time-limited housing vs. transition-in-place housing, congregate vs. clustered vs. scattered site housing, and provider-owned vs. provider-leased vs. participant-leased housing. Discusses how the type of housing can affect participant selection and the services offered.
Chapter 04 - Taking a Survivor-Centered/Empowerment Approach: Rules Reduction, Voluntary Services, and Participant Engagement
Examines the challenges, strategies, and implications of taking a survivor-centered/voluntary services approach, and how such an approach is integral to operating a trauma-informed program. Explores the potential impacts of funder expectations, choice of housing model, staffing patterns, and diverse participant needs and circumstances. Presents comments illustrating the range of providers' interpretations of and responses to the voluntary services requirement, including their approaches to supporting participant engagement and to addressing apparent lack of engagement. Discusses the concept of empowerment, presents comments illustrating the diverse ways that providers see and support survivor empowerment, and cites an innovative approach to measuring safety-related empowerment.
Chapter 05 - Program Staffing
Explores program staffing levels and the kinds of positions providers maintain; the attributes and qualifications that providers look for in the hiring process; and how they assess the value of having a clinician on staff, having child-focused staff, and having survivors on staff. Examines how programs support and supervise staff, and their approaches to staff training. Presents comments illustrating providers' diverse perspectives about utilizing volunteers, and describing how programs that do use volunteers screen, train, and support them.
Chapter 06 - Length of Stay
Explores funders' and providers' approaches to limiting or extending the duration of housing assistance and services, and the implication of those approaches.
Chapter 07 - Subpopulations and Cultural/Linguistic Competence
Discusses cultural and linguistic competence and how providers understand and work to achieve it in their programs. Presents diverse perspectives from the literature and online resources and from provider interviews about the challenges and approaches in serving specific subpopulations, including African American, Latina, Asian American, Native American/Alaska Native, Immigrant, LGBTQ, older adult, deaf, disabled, and ex-offender survivors. Includes an extensive review of the challenges, approaches, and legal framework (e.g., non-discrimination, reasonable accommodation, fair housing) in serving survivors with disabling conditions that affect their mental health, cognition, and/or behavior, including trauma/PTSD, substance dependence, traumatic brain injury, and/or mental illness. Highlights OVW-funded collaborations to enhance the capacity of victim services providers to serve survivors with disabilities and of disability-focused agencies to serve consumers who are also survivors.
Chapter 08 - OVW Constituencies
Focuses on the needs and approaches to meeting the needs of survivors of sexual violence—including survivors of rape and sexual assault, homeless victims of sexual violence, survivors of Military Sexual Trauma, and survivors of human sexual trafficking. Explores possible reasons why survivors of sexual assault constitute only a small percentage of the participants in OVW TH grant-funded programs, even though provider comments generally indicate an openness to serving such survivors. Includes a conversation with senior staff from the Victim Rights Law Center discussing possible options for expanding system capacity to serve sexual assault survivors.
Chapter 09 - Approach to Services: Providing Basic Support and Assistance
Explores different frameworks for providing advocacy /case management support (e.g., voluntary services, survivor empowerment, Housing First, Full Frame) and how motivational interviewing techniques could be helpful. Discusses survivor safety and how safety is assessed and addressed (e.g., danger and lethality assessment instruments, addressing batterer- and life-generated risks as part of safety planning, safe use of technology). Looks at strategies and practices for supporting community integration, and providing follow-up support to program alumni.
Chapter 10 - Challenges and Approaches to Obtaining Housing and Financial Sustainability
Examines the challenges survivors face in obtaining safe, decent, affordable housing and the approaches providers take to help them, and some useful resources. Explores the added challenges posed by poverty, and approaches and resources leveraged by providers to facilitate access to mainstream benefits, education and training, and decent employment. Other areas of focus Include childcare and transportation, resources for persons with criminal records, workplace-related safety planning, and approaches and resources for supporting survivors in enhancing key skills, including financial management.
Chapter 11 - Trauma-Specific and Trauma-Informed Services for Survivors and Their Children
Discusses the nature, impacts, and manifestations of trauma; approaches to addressing trauma; what it means to be trauma-informed; and the steps providers take—and can take—to become more trauma-informed. Reviews the impact of trauma on children and families, especially the trauma of witnessing abuse of a parent; and discusses the challenges posed and approaches taken in addressing the effects of that trauma. Includes brief sections on custody and visitation.
Chapter 12 - Funding and Collaboration: Opportunities and Challenges
Examines sources of funding for TH programs, focusing on OVW and HUD grants—the regulatory requirements, strengths and constraints of each funding source, and the challenges of operating a program with combined OVW/HUD funding. Explores the potential benefits, challenges, and limitations of partnerships and collaborations with mainstream housing/service providers, including confidentiality issues. Presents provider comments citing the benefits of being part of a statewide coalition; discussing the opportunities and challenges of participating in a Continuum of Care; and illustrating the range of gap-filling service agreements and collaborations with mainstream providers. Highlights published reports describing successful collaborations.