Poverty creates an unwinnable choice between homelessness and violence.
Violence and homelessness are a tragic and all-too-common pairing. Today, more than 92% of homeless mothers have experienced violence. A significant gap between victim- specific services and our community’s growing need compounds the risk to women on the streets of Fort Worth. Simply put, there are few safe places victims can stay to begin the healing process.
With few safe options, homeless women often choose another abuser or offender to protect them from the unknown of the streets. This cycle perpetuates a pattern of victimization that homeless women in Tarrant County face with little opportunity to move forward to become self-sufficient, creating ongoing need for community support.
While CTL operated a 20-bed homeless shelter in downtown Fort Worth, it was considered an “emergency” shelter, and as such, a client’s length-of-stay could not exceed180nights. Althoughnotoriginallyintendedasadomesticviolenceshelter, CTL’s shelter was quickly becoming the first line of defense for homeless, female victims of crime and abuse.
Responding to the great need for safe, longer-term “transitional housing,” CTL partnered with The Fox Foundation and Freedom Church (of Bedford) to convert 10 of CTL’s fifth floor “emergency” rooms into “transitional” rooms, providing a sanctuary for clients’ recovery and healing process to begin.
The new fifth floor was debuted at a Blessing Ceremony. Now women have individual rooms with access to a communal kitchen, living room and laundry facility. In the stabilization process, victims have access to a wide range of services such as crime victim support advocates, individual and group counseling provided by a licensed mental health professional, peer-support groups, and opportunities for financial stability and job readiness training.
Through clinical intervention, the program responds to both the emotional and physical needs of victims, assisting them in life stabilization, and providing safety, security, healing and a road map toward self-sufficiency. Unlike an emergency shelter with short stays, transitional clients have time to completely heal and stabilize with 12- to 18-month lengths of stay.
With your help, CTL is lifting women from violence and poverty to independence and possibility.
The problem facing homeless women who are victims of crime is that there are few residential facilities that meet the needs of homeless victims in healing from a traumatic event. Homeless women who have experienced various forms of violence have few safe options.
(Tarrant County Criminal Justice Community Plan, 2015)