FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What evidence do you have that there is need forthis crisis housing? How prevalent is domestic violence in Orange County?
The Safe Homes housing concept was born out of research done by a team from the UNC School of Social Work led by Professor Rebecca Macy (https://tinyurl.com/ocdvnareport).This research documented the status of domestic violence in Orange County and the seriousgaps in services, most particularly a complete lack of crisis housing.
Statewide, approximately 44% of women and 19% of men experience rape, physical violence or stalking by a current or former intimate partner at some point in their lives.
Domestic violence happens across all social boundaries regardless of economic status, education, age, gender or geographic location.
Nationally, one in four women experience domestic violence each year, and most women murdered in the U.S. are killed by current or former intimate partners.
1,399 domestic violence victims were served by Compass Center in 2018-2019 (an 18% increase over the previous year) and 253 of these victims (a 16% increase over the previous year) requested emergency housing. CC was able to place only 15 adults and 5 children locally for brief hotel stays. In addition to those who contacted Compass Center:
1,236 people — nearly 94% of the 1,319 clients served by the Orange County Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit in 2019 — were victims of domestic violence, and . . .
570 domestic violence cases were recorded by the Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and UNC Campus police departments in 2018 (latest available statistics). This total does not include separately recorded incidences of stalking and rape.
In 2012 a mother of two was shot and killed by her estranged husband while picking up their children outside the elementary school they attended in Chapel Hill. Last fall, a woman was killed outside her home in northern Orange County by a former intimate partner who was under a restraining order. Two months later in Durham, an employee of UNC Family Medicine was killed outside her workplace by a former intimate partner also under a protective order. In early 2020, a man killed his wife, 5 other members of his family and then himself inside their Chatham County home.
In March, during the early stages of North Carolina’s COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders, requests for emergency housing increased by 116% over the same month last year. Requests for Domestic Violence Protective Orders doubled.
Why is Compass Center taking a lead role in creating crisis housing for domestic violence issues in the county?
Compass Center (CC) has a long history of assisting survivors of domestic abuse and is currently designated by the state as Orange County’s primary domestic violence service provider. All six public law enforcement agencies in Orange County, and UNC Hospital’s Beacon Program, refer domestic violence victims to Compass Center for services and housing. No other organization serves this purpose. For more detail on Compass Center’s mission and history, visit compassctr.org/about
Orange County does not have a shelter for DV victims? What about Homestart?
Where are the closest traditional DV shelters? Do they have space when we call?
Durham, Alamance, Person, and Wake Counties have shelters. Chatham County’s DV shelter closed in 2018. Our region’s shelters tend to be small and are frequently full, so clients are being sent farther and farther out into more rural counties with fewer transportation and employment options. When victims must be sheltered outside of Orange County they are often far from their place of employment, have less access to family and friends or other supports, and children may be pulled from the stability of their school.
What are people in Orange County who need crisis housing doing now?
Where else is this scattered housing model being used? How does it work?
Professor Macy’s research surveyed crisis housing models used across the state and nation, ultimately determining that a “scattered housing” model based on leased apartments was most effective in providing survivors with the safety, flexibility, services and time needed to transition to a stable and secure living situation.
How will the money raised by the Safe Homes, New Lives campaign be used, and why are you raising enough to cover 3 years of operation?
Sounds like we need 10 apartments and not just 3 or 6. How is that number set?
How long will people stay in crisis housing? And what happens after that?
The intent is for the crisis housing to be used for a few days or weeks up to a potential maximum stay of 60 days. A case worker will help clients to find the best solution beyond that time, which could be a plan to move in with family or renting their own apartment. Some clients may transition into our existing long-term housing program. In this program we assist clients with renting an apartment with micro-grants that can generally pay for up to 4 months of expenses, continued case management services and counseling, and help connecting to other community service providers. (Visit compassctr.org for more details.)
Why is it better to rent apartments instead of own them?
Why is it better to rent apartments rather than have a single dedicated building?
What costs besides rent are included for the apartments in the emergency housing program?
Will this be safe for residents?
How will the important wrap-around services that Compass Center is known for be delivered to people living in these apartments?
Will property owners be willing to rent to Compass Center?
What do local law enforcement officials think of this plan?
How can faith communities and civic organizations get involved?
There are so many ways: sponsor an apartment for a year, pay for a week or month’s rent, offer to provide sheets/towels/bedding, purchase food and supplies or provide food or gas gift cards. To learn more about how your organization can get involved, contact Valerie Sauer, Director of Community Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will we know this is a success? What are the markers/measures you will use?
That we have full beds. That crisis clients are transitioning successfully to permanent, safe, sustainable situations. The success of the program will be evaluated regularly to ensure that it is providing the expected benefits to DV victims and to address any aspects that need modification to improve outcomes for clients.
What role will local town and county government play in supporting this initiative?
We are exploring those options right now. The towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough as well as Orange County government all have extensive affordable housing initiatives. We are in dialogue with officials as to how DV victims and crisis housing can be included in those programs.
When will this program begin?
As funding allows. Based on the funding received so far, we plan to bring on a new case manager for the program by August and our hope is to make our first apartment(s) available by October 2020.
Are there ways other than writing a check that I can contribute to the campaign goal?
Donation of or reduced rent for a qualified rental unit and donation of services: real estate property holders may donate the use of an apartment rental unit that fits the needs of the Safe Homes program. Donations of services to assist with upkeep and repair, among others, are also welcomed by Safe Homes.
Helping victims of domestic violence is critically important, but does Compass Center also offer counseling and training on ways to prevent the violence from occurring in the first place?
Compass Center has a Director of Education whose primary focus is prevention work. As part of her duties she offers "Breaking the Silence" (basically DV101) trainings for community members, and 2-day “Start Strong” trainings for teens that has DV prevention as the focus. Prevention work is something Compass Center takes very seriously and has the capacity to do. We are also interested in providing more education and prevention outreach to other community organizations, including churches and synagogues.