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A Home, Not a Shelter
NYAWC's two emergency residences are more than shelters. With their homelike surroundings and supportive staff, Rose House and Peace House offer solace and comfort to the domestic violence survivors and their children who have left the abusive environment they once called home.
Rose House and Peace House are the only ones licensed by New York State that are culturally and language equipped to serve pan-Asian domestic violence survivors. Together, they have 40 beds and offer the following services in multiple Asian languages and dialects:
In 2011, we sheltered 107 women and 85 children in our Houses. Their shelter stay ranged from 4 days to 5.2 months and averaged 2.7 months.
In New York City, domestic violence survivors can stay in an emergency shelter for 90 days, with a possibility of a 45 day extension. But they may need additional time to find safe, affordable housing and settle into their new lives. Our transitional housing program, Safe Apartments, provides rent subsidies to families for 2 years after they leave our residences. We offer culturally appropriate and in-language support service to help survivors recover from trauma, meet their career goals, secure jobs, and integrate back into the community.
Hear from our staff/volunteer:
Karyn Comeau, Junior Resident Manager:
What makes our shelters stand out is the community setting. We have a lot of group activities such as movie nights, spa events and holiday parties. We encourage all our residents to build meaningful connections with each other, to foster support and strength from those around them. Each woman and child that comes through our doors is encouraged to find her own voice and share her story with us.
We have a variety of services available to residents. We have counseling sessions, monthly support groups, a children's program, childcare services, internet access, and house meetings to set and discuss communal living and resident concerns. There are rules regarding safety, for example the location must be kept confidential and there is no alcohol allowed on site. For everyone's safety and convenience, staff are on-site 24/7 and are available for emergencies.
In a typical week a resident might have a legal appointment on Tuesday and a meeting with her counselor on Thursday. In between these meetings, she might be working on writing a resume or using a computer to look for jobs. To wind down, she could watch TV in her room or go explore the city with her children on one of Children Program's field trips.
The biggest concern of our residents is safety. Our shelters provide are a safe haven for women and families who have nowhere to go. Upon moving in, residents are provided with basic supplies and easy access to our services. We work with women and families to assess needs and set goals, with a focus on the long-term concerns of housing, employment and independence. Our shelters are not a permanent solution, but a stepping stone in a survivor's journey.
Yu Wu Cao, Resident Advocate:
The major difference between NYAWC shelter and other shelter is the level of flexibility on survivors. Survivors who been to other shelters would express their frustration that they feel like prisoner at those shelters, they always fear they will break some rules and get discharged, and there are virtually no room for compromises. At NYAWC shelter, we want to give survivors the same feeling when they are at home. They have their own space that we do our best to respect and we come up with plans to accommodate their daily life without interruptions as much as possible. We work around resident's restraints and see what best work for them, instead of having them tailor their life according to the shelter environment. It is all about safety, comfort, trust, support, and recovery. We also encourage survivors to try to build support network among each other, and retain that support network even after they move out the shelter.
Survivors can expect NYAWC's shelter to be a friendlier, flexible, and an interactive home environment. The environment is relaxed for survivors to think, plan for their future, and lessen their stress to improve their recovery.
Around 7am, the women begin to prepare breakfast and take their children to school. Then they will attend their own tasks. During the evening, they come back to the shelter and prepare dinner by themselves or with other family members while their children can play in the yard. Then they enjoy their meal in the dining room, where they can TV. After families finish their meals, the children still have time to do their homework or play before going to sleep. During the evening, mothers can do laundry, enjoy talks with other residents, or simply watch a movie.
Survivor have a comfortable place to stay, people to talk to 24/7, and can take the first step in building their social and support network. Survivors will be more confident, independent, and knowledgeable.
Alena Victor, Assistant Director of Shelters
Transitional Housing:Transitional Housing is an opportunity to provide extended housing and support services to residents for 6 to 24 months after their shelter stay. This program allows the residents to work slowly towards self-sufficiency, as the program provides partial rent subsidy payments to landlords. The remaining rent payments are provided by the participant. The increments of participant payment of rent gradually increases every six months, allowing the participant and opportunity to plan out long term goals with regards to obtaining permanent housing. This slow increase in participant rental payments, allows her to plan out her finances and develop long terms sustainable goals to manage her income and savings in order to pay the entire rental payments eventually. The program also works with the participant, providing support services that are inclusive of housing advocacy, budgeting and finance planning, vocational counseling, employment retention support as well as general counseling. The goal of the program is to gradually increase the participant's ability to sustain an apartment financially as well as manage their family's lives in a sustainable way.
Read more about our Emergency Residential Program and Safe Apartments:- http://bit.ly/NYAWC_Agencyofthemonth
Are you or someone you know in need of emergency residence?
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