Closing the Gap: Integrating Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence Experiencing Homelessness

The United States Department of Justice reports that one in four homeless women is homeless because of violence committed against her.1 Whether families receive assistance from domestic violence (DV) or homeless service systems is often a matter of chance, availability of beds, and knowledge of services in a community. Despite similarities in the population served, the DV and homeless service systems are generally not integrated, operate in silos, and are not connected to mainstream services in most communities. While there are well-established links in the literature on DV and homelessness, integration of the two systems in policy and practice is still emerging.

This toolkit was created to address the gap between DV and homeless service systems. By laying the groundwork to understand the intersection between DV and homelessness, this toolkit offers practical strategies that providers can follow to improve service integration. The toolkit was informed by: 1) a comprehensive literature review conducted to understand the extent and nature of the problem; 2) a national survey of the field; and 3) in-depth interviews of key stakeholders. Survey respondents were from all regions of the country and included both DV-focused programs and non-DV-focused programs. Based on the results of the survey, in-depth interviews were completed with 15 individuals. Interviewees included survivors of DV and homelessness, federal policy advocates, state and local level advocates and providers, research experts, and project consultants. (Author)

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