by Tracey Lyall, CEO of DVIS

Homelessness is a reality that affects domestic violence survivors and their children every day. Many people do not want to consider these displaced families homeless, but according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), families “fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, have no other residence, and lack the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing” are, by definition, homeless.

Each day in the United States, more than 31,500 adults and children fleeing domestic violence find safe housing at an emergency shelter or transitional living program, like the ones offered by Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) in Tulsa. On this same day in the United States, agencies like ours are unable to meet over 12,197 requests for services due to a lack of resources. Of these unfulfilled requests, 63 percent (7,728) are for housing. This means, on a daily basis in the United States, there are at least 7,728 families with nowhere to go. No wonder 20 percent to 50 percent of women experiencing homelessness cite intimate partner violence as the primary cause of their homelessness!

Homelessness due to domestic violence is dangerous. Not only are families in danger if found by the perpetrator, but they become vulnerable to sexual violence and human trafficking. Studies show homeless women are two to four times more likely to experience violence when compared to all other women in the United States. Additionally, one-in-three homeless or runaway teens will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home.

The reality is, our community needs programs like A Way Home for Tulsa. The partnerships formed through this initiative save lives by providing safe housing to domestic violence survivors and their families. It changes the lives of hundreds of women, men and children in our community each day.

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