A Safe Place at Crescent House

Your New House
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Whether it’s squabbles over how to correctly load the dishwasher or whether to watch tiger kings or housewives, tensions on families sheltering at home is a bit of a problem during these challenging times. But for some families, those conflicts are life and death realities.

“This is a particularly difficult time for women and children who are forced to stay at home with their abusers,” says Fran Danis, who is recognized as a social work pioneer in violence against women by the National Association of Social Workers. “They are subject to increased isolation and may not feel they have any outlets for physical and emotional support.”

Locally, the New Orleans Family Justice Center (NOFJC), a partnership of agencies dedicated to ending family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and stalking is addressing this growing need.

“Shelter in home may not be a safe option for victims of domestic violence,” says Mary Claire Landry, executive director of NOFJC. “This type of crisis will make batterers more dangerous because of their stress levels and the inability to cope with the loss of income. Domestic violence is happening, and it is worsening due to COVID-19. Survivors are scared to leave because they fear even more the unknown and how they will support themselves and their families.”

The organization is anticipating a significant increase in requests for safe housing, so it is expanding its shelter capacity next month by leasing out an eight-apartment complex.

NOFJC’s emergency services, Crescent House, allows survivors to get immediate support and connects them with resources to increase their safety during a crisis situation. All services are provided free of charge.

Crescent House is designed to be short-term emergency housing assistance that provides a survivor with a safe place to live while options are considered and decisions are made about the relationship with the abuser. During their stay in Crescent House, survivors are provided with a wide range of resources and services, such as food, clothes, advocates, access to civil legal services and access to a trauma-informed child therapist to address trauma experiences of children exposed to violence.

“Many survivors of domestic violence may still be with their partners and things in the home are escalating,” says Landry. “They are hesitant to call the police because when they do the batterers are getting out of jail immediately, and then when they return home, they incur even more violence.”

The organization is also dealing with special needs related to vulnerable families who had already left abusive relationships and were stable.

“Now they are unstable due to losing their service industry jobs,” Landry says. “Many also are having their abusers claim their stimulus checks, and many of our survivors may not be eligible for unemployment or for the stimulus payments. We are responding to many people who are struggling with food, rent and utilities. We are doing our best to provide support for them.”

Danis suggests that friends and family should reach out and establish code words and phrases that help women act decisively if their lives are endangered.

“It’s important to know that the shelters are still open,” she says. “And, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is open at 1-800-799-7233.”

NOFJC is also still answering its hotline number – 504-866-9554.

If you would like to support NOFJC during this critical time, the organization needs help furnishing the new apartments so they are ready to place families in need of safe housing.

And, of course, you can send a check to NOFJC, P.O. Box 50159, NOLA 70150-0159 or visit its website www.nofjc.org.

Every donation goes a long way in supporting survivors and their children on their journey toward safety, healing and prosperity.

 

 

 

Categories: Labors of Love