Page 6 - Northern Star Fall 2020 Edition
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  The Northern
 n June 2020, Crisis Center North permanent housing with no additional to provide full rental assistance to anyone successfully completed the first fiscal supports who lost employment due to COVID-19 and year running the Domestic Violence • 50% of successful adults and families support those who were job searching for
Unified Project (DV-UP) Rapid Rehousing Program. Working collaboratively with the other DV organizations in Allegheny County, the initiative is a supportive housing program designed to assist individuals and families to transition from homelessness to secure, permanent housing. In the program’s first year — which included four months during the coronavirus pandemic — CCN delivered the following:
• Total number of individuals (adults and children) served: 44
• Total number of successful graduations (adults and families): 15
• Average length of stay: 5 months
• Average increase in total monthly
income: $805.46
• 50% of successful adults and families
who graduated lived independently in
who graduated lived in permanent housing and were linked to additional housing supports/services
COVID-19 created many barriers for program participants. CCN advocates worked extensively with families on finding additional ways to access childcare and employment in these new and uncertain times. Most caretakers in the program work in at-risk positions (e.g., at-home aides, nurses, food industry workers, etc.), and their increased exposure was cause for concern. The program took extra care and precaution while doing in-home inspections, and bringing them their much- needed resources like groceries and bus passes. Meetings switched primarily to Zoom or FaceTime to increase everyone’s safety. Fortunately, the program has funding
extended periods. CCN’s network of landlords and property managers have been working collaboratively with the program to come up with new and inventive ways of showing units while keeping all staff and participants safe.
It is never easy to settle into a new home. Program participants have so much against them, and finding suitable housing can be its own full-time job. With a shifting job market, and a global pandemic to consider, CCN’s Rapid Rehousing Program has had to retool many standard case management services, thinking outside the box in terms of referrals and support. We hope we continue seeing positive, life-changing results in supporting individuals and families impacted by domestic violence beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
I Black Lives Matter
t is a phrase and call to action that has been gaining momentum since the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and it
has only gotten louder and stronger. Protests have occurred around the country, petitions are being signed, and a stark fact is raised: all people are not equal in the United States. Unfortunately, domestic violence is not spared in this statistic: Black women are subjected to domestic violence 35% higher than their White counterparts, and 2.5 times higher than women of other races. Not only are Black women three times more likely to die as a result of domestic violence than a White woman, the leading cause of injury among Black women ages 15 to 44 is abuse.
Black women have a unique set of experiences and needs that must be accounted. Many Black women do not report due to the fear that they will be labeled as a snitch within
their communities or that calling the police will not lead to protection. There is a significant shortage of culturally specific services for Black domestic violence survivors. Black women stay silent due to their sense of duty to their race and culture – their first response to violence is not to report, but to protect their men and community. Black women have internalized the idea that they need to be strong which leads to them fighting back against their abuser. When they stand up for themselves they are depicted as an ‘angry Black woman’ which makes them as a ‘bad victim,’ and makes them unviable for a lot of programs as a victim. For example, Marissa Alexander, a Black survivor of abuse, was sentenced to jail for 20 years because she shot a bullet into the wall next to her abuser after he almost strangled her to death. Due to these factors, instead of turning to domestic violence programs and the police, they turn to their churches and pastors. If divorce is discouraged and forgiveness is required, this can trap them in a cycle of abuse.
To properly address domestic violence among Black women, start with the churches, as the Black population represents the highest percentage of Christians in the US. Educate pastors and the members of the church about domestic violence and that they should stand with any woman who is a victim. The local police forces need to be trained to understand the unique challenges that Black women face when determining whether or not to report their abuse. Shelters and domestic violence resources need to understand the unique challenges that Black women face, and how to properly address them. Programs need to be put in place to help Black women communicate with their families and communities to prevent these relationships from falling apart if they report. Lastly, it is vital to empower Black survivors to share their stories. The conversation surrounding race and domestic violence needs to start sooner rather than later; Black lives depend on it.

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