42% of the victims escaping domestic violence in Texas will be turned away from their local emergency shelter due to lack of space and capacity issues.
This space issue transforms the issue of domestic violence into a homelessness issue and victims are re-traumatized and never recover. These victims are placed on a waitlist and must call the shelter daily and weekly until there is space.
This is not just a Texas issue. It’s a national epidemic, with turn-away rates exploding and waitlists from 2 to 3 days up to 10 years.
So what happens to these victims and their families in LIMBO?
Let’s look at the some national statistics to get an better picture of the domestic violence wait list issue nationally.
- 1 in 4 women and 1 and 7 men will experience domestic abuse and violence across the country.
- According to the NNEDV Census 2016, over 250,000 people seeking shelter will be turned away across the country.
- Wait lists across the country can last one day or up to 10 years across the US and often victims are forced to seek other options like their local homeless shelters.
ZOOM INTO TEXAS…
- Up from 31% in 2014, 39% of the victims who leave their violent homes will be turned away due to lack of space in their local shelter and the risk of heightened violence goes up to 75%.
- In 2014, more than 14,801 unmet requests for shelter across the state of Texas.
- In 2015, 132 died because of domestic violence (DV) inflicted by an intimate partner in Texas.
- 50 families are turned away month from the Hope Alliance Shelter, which supports Travis, Williamson, Bell, and Milam Counties. Because of their lack of physical space to hold survivors and their families, shelters like Hope Alliance have developed programming to meet the needs of clients that will never see the inside of their emergency shelter. In fact..
- 61,119 adults and their children receive nonresidential services (i.e., counseling, legal advocacy, etc.) because of this lack of space.
- 161 persons in April 2016 were turned away from the Hope Alliance Crisis Center because there was no space to place them. 2/3rds of these victims are children.
- 3% of the survivors placed on the wait list will ever see the inside of a shelter and disappear without a trace.
IN AUSTIN, TEXAS…
- Over 2.5 million people live in Austin and its surrounding areas, including Williamson, Bell, and Milam counties.
- Over 84,000 calls are logged with the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- There are 2 domestic violence shelters support them and less than 200 beds between them.
THERE NEEDS TO BE REFORM to make this support system for domestic abuse victims effective again.
We use the analogy that a hospital is not comprised of just the emergency room, but several areas of medicine to help its’ patients to get healthy. Same is true of the domestic violence movement. The shelter system is the emergency room, triage, and always will be. The wait list is the waiting room and no one, much less a traumatized person, wants to be there.
The Survive2Thrive Foundation is creating the mechanism and recovery path so that shelters AND survivors can thrive through partnership with shelters nationally to provide more support to both and lessen the grip of limited resources and long wait lists.
There will always be a shelter system because there will always be a family in need of help in the middle of the night. But what about those victims looking to plan an exit, or those looking for counseling and education, and resources to rebuild on their own. With the help of our partners and our internal programs, Survive2Thrive to ease the weight of an already resource-stressed shelter system.
We as a nation do not need new shelters. We need a new way to assist survivors of domestic violence into self-sufficiency, reduce recidivism, and end the taxing of nonprofit resources. This reform will help domestic violence shelters nationally to operate optimally, to provide emergency shelter for victims and thus eliminating the pressure of repeat visitors and the growing wait lists that plague desperate survivors and their families.