Ohio Domestic Violence Prevention Groups Focus on Housing Options for Survivors

click to enlarge Ohio Domestic Violence Prevention Groups Focus on Housing Options for Survivors
The Fresh Start Housing Project is helping survivors

COLUMBUS, Ohio — New programs available to domestic violence-prevention groups in Ohio aim to help survivors transition into safe, stable housing.

This year, the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) launched the Fresh Start Housing Project. It provides 29 organizations in the state with funds for staff to work on linking survivors to housing assistance.

The network also has a Transitional Housing Program for Survivors Recently Released from Prison, which offers rental assistance for up to 24 months.

Emily Kulow, director of housing and meaningful access for the ODVN, said she hopes the projects lead to even more housing-focused funding.

"Getting them into their own housing allows them that level of independence that they might not have had when they were living with their abusive partner," Kulow explained. "And just allows them to then focus on their empowerment, and focus on themselves and their children, and all of that."

Kulow pointed out housing is a primary barrier that survivors face when leaving abusive relationships. ODVN served nearly 500 people in the first quarter of this year with its Fresh Start program.

Christel Keller, executive director of the Crossroads Crisis Center, which received Fresh Start funding, said for people starting over, the program has helped mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 in at-risk places like shelters.

"The Fresh Start has assisted us with shortening shelter days and facilitating placement into housing," Keller reported. "And with the added stress and barriers for survivors due to the pandemic, having staffing to find stable housing is really critical."

The Fresh Start project received funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to decrease shelter populations and provide more survivors with permanent housing.
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