Low Barrier Programs

Many programs are examining ways to better ensure access to services by eliminating requirements that can become barriers for those seeking help with housing and/or victim services.

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Safe, Accessible Housing for Survivors: The Low-Barrier Approach

2012
District Alliance for Safe Housing

The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) was founded in 2006 to provide families experiencing domestic violence with emergency and long-term safe housing, and homelessness prevention services. The organization’s mission is to be an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. This report summarizes findings from an evaluation conducted in 2011 as to the effectiveness of their approach.

DASH’s Safe Housing Model and Management Structure: Preserving Survivor and Staff Self-­Determination and Dignity

2015
District Alliance for Safe Housing

This presentation describes DASH's low-barrier, voluntary, trauma-­‐informed approach to service provision in its programs aimed at helping survivors achieve safe housing. Includes discussion of how fidelity to core beliefs influence program outcomes.

From Organizational Culture to Survivor Outcomes: A Process And Outcome Evaluation Of The District Alliance For Safe Housing

2016
Nkiru Nnawulezi

The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) is a large, community-based organization located in Washington, D.C. It aims to provide services that promote self-determination, autonomy and safety for all survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, sex trafficking, same-sex IPV, and homelessness. DASH also engages in systems advocacy to increase survivors’ safe housing options throughout the housing continuum. DASH uses low-barrier, voluntary, trauma-informed approaches to service delivery in order to enact their core beliefs:integrity, sovereignty, empowerment, accountability, partnerships, compassion, and re-centering. In 2013, evaluators from Michigan State University’s Research Consortium on Gender Based Violence collaborated with DASH to implement a process and outcome evaluation of DASH's program model. This document summarizes their findings.

Best Practice: Rapid Re-housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence - District Alliance for Safe Housing’s Empowerment Project in Washington, DC

2009
District Alliance for Safe Housing

The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) is a domestic violence housing and service agency in Washington, DC. Its mission is to ensure access to safe and sustainable refuge for survivors of domestic violence and their children through the development and management of safe housing and related services. It also provides capacity building assistance to community-based organizations to expand their knowledge and ability to serve survivors and their children in an effort to promote the overall safety of women and children in the District. Between 2007 and 2008, DASH piloted the Empowerment Project, a transition-in-place program that provided families with time limited rental assistance and case management to help them quickly transition to housing in the community. This report discusses that project and its outcomes.

Best Practice: Rapid Re-Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence - Volunteers of America’s Home Free in Portland, OR

2010
National Alliance to End Homelessness

The Home Free program exemplifies how a rapid re-housing approach can work for families impacted by domestic violence. Many survivors are able to quickly stabilize in their own homes and succeed in maintaining that housing, bypassing a prolonged shelter stay or makeshift and sometimes risky temporary housing arrangements. Some families still benefit from the safety and on-site support of shelter or facility-based transitional housing, but others are better supported by being back in their own housing as soon as possible.

Homelessness and Domestic Violence

2014
Linda Olsen
Kris Billhardt

This presentation reviews the intersection between domestic violence homelessness/housing insecurity and provides information about effective approaches to support survivors toward safe and stable housing. Program examples from Oregon and Washington are provided.

Women Need Safe, Stable, Affordable Housing: A Study of Social, Private and Co-op Housing in Winnipeg

2004
Molly McCracken

This study looked at gender-specific issues related to housing programs in Winnipeg, Canada. Among other findings, safety was a key concern among women looking for housing. Researchers noted that many women have experienced domestic violence in their homes, and that women are more likely to stay in unsafe situations because of their inability to find other housing. Women in the study described having experienced sexual harassment from landlords, and reported that safety features such as lighting sensors and cameras in stairwells and elevators made them feel safer. The authors strongly recommend implementation of gender-based analysis in all housing policies and programs, and note that cooperative (shared) housing is greatly assistive to women with low incomes.

Creating Trauma-Informed Services: A Guide for Sexual Assault Programs and Their System Partners

2012
Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

The advocacy field has used the term “survivor-centered services” for years to describe how we approach our work. Survivor-centered services use many of the concepts of trauma-informed services. However, the practice of trauma-informed services makes these principles accessible across disciplines, and is broader in scope. Survivor-centered services seek to meet the needs of identified individuals who have been victimized, in a respectful manner, whereas trauma-informed services acknowledge the high proportion of survivors, identified or not, served by professionals in the health, human services, and criminal justice arenas. Providers are challenged to offer all services in a manner that would support and empower survivors.

Tips for Using Video Conferencing for Victim Services

2015
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

Videoconferencing can be a good option because it provides survivors with an alternative way to meet with a provider or counselor. Additional benefits include increasing accessibility and allowing survivors to talk to advocates who have expertise in whatever service the survivor needs, such as being able to speak the same language or understand the survivor’s cultural background. Using video conferencing can also save money and provide high quality contact for those who are unable to travel to the program’s location due to lack of transportation or because they live too far from the program. Video contact also can be more personal than a phone call or email.

Real Tools: Responding to Multi-Abuse Trauma - Chapter 10: How Should Advocates Respond?

2011
Debi Edmund
Patricia Bland
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

This toolkit was designed in hopes that it will be widely used for training advocates and other service providers, creating support groups for individuals coping with multi-abuse trauma issues, and educating and advocating in the community. The excerpted chapter describes how advocates and programs can support survivors seeking safety, sobriety, wellness, autonomy and justice by reducing service barriers and ending isolation for people impacted by multiple abuse issues. Policies and procedures to ensure culturally competent, appropriate, non-punitive and non-judgmental accessible services are key.

Self Assessment Tool for Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities

2004
Disability Rights Wisconsin

This tool is to be used by sexual assault and domestic violence programs to review their programs and services to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access and an equal opportunity to participate. Accessibility includes removing not only physical barriers to participation, but also cultural and attitudinal barriers. Many of the suggestions about policies and communication are best practices, and some are required by law. This tool is designed to be used with an accompanying Accessibility Guide. Links to both the Guide and the Tool can be found below.

Model Medication Policy for DV Shelters

2011
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

As state domestic violence coalitions and local domestic violence programs across the country work to create more accessible and trauma-informed shelter programs, staff and advocates have sought guidance on designing medication policies that better serve survivors who are experiencing mental health symptoms or living with mental health disabilities. This Model Medication Policy for Domestic Violence Shelters, developed in response to these requests, is intended to provide coalitions and programs with guidance on designing medication policies that reflect survivor-centered values and to help to create more accessible and trauma-informed shelter environments. It also provides guidance on drafting policies that comply with ethical and legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These three federal statutes have implications for how domestic violence shelters screen and admit survivors and how they store and handle medications.

Mainstream Practice: Highlights from the LGBTQ DV Capacity Building learning Center Literature Review

2015
National LGBTQ Domestic Violence Capacity Building Learning Center

This article summarizes and analyzes the body of literature from the mainstream DV movement and discusses its insights, models, and cautionary tales in terms of their applicability to LGBTQ IPV. Includes discussion of DV shelter models and new low-barrier approaches such as DV Housing First.

From Organizational Culture to Survivor Outcomes: A Process And Outcome Evaluation Of The District Alliance For Safe Housing

2016
Nkiru Nnawulezi

The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) is a large, community-based organization located in Washington, D.C. It aims to provide services that promote self-determination, autonomy and safety for all survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, sex trafficking, same-sex IPV, and homelessness. DASH also engages in systems advocacy to increase survivors’ safe housing options throughout the housing continuum. DASH uses low-barrier, voluntary, trauma-informed approaches to service delivery in order to enact their core beliefs:integrity, sovereignty, empowerment, accountability, partnerships, compassion, and re-centering. In 2013, evaluators from Michigan State University’s Research Consortium on Gender Based Violence collaborated with DASH to implement a process and outcome evaluation of DASH's program model. This document summarizes their findings.