Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Coordinator
He was just furious, of course, and he said, “Give me the credit cards and the debit cards. I’m not supporting you.” And so, I gave him the debit card to our bank account, I gave him the credit card, I gave him the checkbook and I had nothing. I had, like, $4 cash or something.
Jordan Hedgecock describes the day she put her children in the car and left an abusive partner. She talks about why she made the decision to leave, and her subsequent experience with homelessness, in this audio story, recorded as part of the StoryCorps “Finding Our Way” project:
As happened to Jordan, abusers often isolate their partners from friends and family, and also control economic resources. This can leave the domestic violence survivor with two options: stay in an abusive home, or face homelessness.
In the clip, Jordan says that many people find themselves experiencing homelessness because they made the brave decision to leave an abusive relationship. It’s true that domestic violence is a leading cause of family homelessness, and there are many correlations between domestic violence, poverty and homelessness. A couple of statistics bring the problem into focus:
- One in four homeless women is homeless because of violence committed against her
- 92 percent of mothers who are homeless report severe sexual or physical abuse, 62 percent of which was committed by an intimate partner
Programs like the Domestic Violence Housing First Project are working to eliminate housing as a reason to stay in abusive relationships, and to prevent homelessness for victims fleeing violence. They are an important part of the solution.
Another key to ensuring that survivors of domestic violence and their children have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home is increasing the supply of affordable homes in our communities. The Housing Trust Fund is the state’s top tool for creating and maintaining affordable homes. Right now, our lawmakers are debating how much to invest in the fund. The budget proposed by the state House of Representatives includes $110 million for affordable housing, with $80 million for the Housing Trust Fund. The Senate’s budget proposes significantly less funding. (You can read a detailed budget analysis on the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s website.)
You can help by making a quick call to your lawmakers. Simply call the legislative hotline at 1.800.562.6000 between 8am and 8pm on a weekday and leave a message that includes the following request:
Please ensure the final budget raises new revenue and invests at least $110 million in affordable housing, including $80 million for the Housing Trust Fund.
It will take you just a couple of minutes, and our collective advocacy makes a huge difference for survivors like Jordan who have made the brave choice to walk away from violence.