YWCA Evanston/North Shore, in partnership with Evanston-based Connections for the Homeless, was recently awarded a grant of $550,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.
The grant, which will be distributed over a three-year period, will be used to provide transitional housing for families who are homeless due to intimate partner violence.
According to Hillary Douin, YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s director of domestic violence programs, the grant will help provide apartments in the area for families who are already receiving support through YWCA’s domestic violence services. Connections for the Homeless will offer expertise in securing these safe housing units.
“This grant is a significant achievement because it will expand our capacity to provide housing to women and children who are affected by violence,” said Douin.
YWCA Evanston/North Shore currently provides an emergency overnight shelter and offers longer-term housing in an apartment complex through a program known as “Bridges.” The apartments funded by the grant will be an addition to these.
According to Douin, housing is the key to breaking the cycle of violence. She said that housing security leads to economic security and is an important predictor of success for women who are leaving their abusers.
“When survivors have stable housing and some breathing room, they are able to build up other areas of their lives and focus on things like job training and emotional healing. This is known as the ‘housing first’ model, in which having a safe place to live provides the foundation for healing and moving forward,” she said.
In addition to the federal housing grant, YWCA Evanston/North Shore is expanding its capacity through its campus expansion and renovation project, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.
Said Karen Singer, president and CEO of YWCA Evanston/North Shore, “We are making huge strides forward in the expansion of our domestic violence services, including our ability to provide housing. Now more than ever, it’s critical that we are there for the women and families who need our support.”