David Mandel just completed a one day overview of the Safe and Together model for the Community Alliance for the Homeless in Memphis Tennessee. CAH is the lead agency for Strong Families Memphis, one of the five federal demonstration sites looking how housing stability can reduce out of home placements for families involved with the child welfare system. Funding for this project is coming from ACF and consortium of foundations.
The intersection of domestic violence, child safety and well being and housing is an important issue to address. The following is brief overview of the issue that David prepared for the site: “Domestic violence is a challenging and prevalent issue for child welfare and other social service professionals. While most commonly associated with concerns about physical safety and trauma, domestic violence perpetrator’s behaviors impact children and families across multiple domains from academic achievement to employment to housing. Domestic violence intersects with many child welfare concerns include juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and mental health issues. A problem in all strata of society, unaddressed domestic violence can be another significant barrier to success in communities plagued by poverty, racism, unemployment, high rates of incarceration, and substance abuse.
Domestic violence perpetrator behavior and its effects on families have significant impact on families’ housing instability. First, perpetrator behaviors can directly or indirectly influence housing stability. Domestic violence perpetrator’s violence may lead to an eviction by a landlord due to property damage, visits from law enforcement and even aggressive behavior to neighbors or others. A survivor and her children may lose housing when they need to flee for safety. The perpetrator’s behavior may lead to the inability to pay the rent or mortgage because either the perpetrator loses his job (resulting from incarceration or just time off due to arrest) or the survivor loses her job due to the abuse and violence e.g. not showing up because of injuries or stalking behavior leads to her termination or the need to seek another job to be safe. Second the problems resulting from the violence and abuse may lead to housing instability. For example, domestic violence may lead to substance abuse or exacerbate any existing substance abuse problem for a survivor. Finally, domestic violence perpetrators may interfere with efforts to gain stable housing. This may involve actions like engaging in illegal activities in new-found housing, a perpetrator returning to a new home after incarceration, or engaging in or forcing others to engage in violations of program rules.”
David Mandel & Associates is excited about the innovative efforts of CAH, the Memphis Strong Family partners and the other sites. We are hoping to do whatever we can to support their efforts.