Staying at home during the COVID-19 crisis may be the safest option for some, but that’s not the case for domestic violence survivors. Staying home means more time with their abuser, and all the stress of COVID-19 can trigger violence.
United Way 2-1-1 has actually seen a nearly 20% decrease in calls for domestic violence resources during COVID-19 compared to last year. This is probably an indication that survivors aren’t able to get away from their abusers to make those calls right now, says Nicole Hughes, housing director at YWCA Metro St. Louis.
With support from an emergency response grant from United Way, YWCA is helping survivors flee domestic violence during this dangerous time by:
- Working with their network of landlords to find safe, permanent housing for survivors.
- Arranging hotel rooms for survivors until housing is secured. These temporary arrangements allow survivors to flee more quickly, avoid shelters and stay hidden.
- Purchasing food, clothes, toiletries and other basics for survivors who flee with nothing.
What your support means
The program has been a lifeline for survivors like Cassie,* who fled from Warren County last week with her infant daughter and just a few things in her diaper bag. Cassie made it to St. Louis County, where her YWCA case manager met her at the hotel with a bassinet and other essentials for her and her daughter. Caseworkers are close to finding a new apartment for Cassie, but until then, she has a safe place to stay while she waits to begin her new life.
*Name has been changed for privacy.
We’re all in this together
This is just one example of the critical work being done in our community right now. In the coming weeks, United Way will continue to stand by our region, helping with both critical disaster relief and long-term recovery efforts.
Take action now:
- If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, dial 2-1-1 or visit 211helps.org to get connected to local resources.