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Homelessness and Domestic Violence

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Kaylie had nearly reached the end of her 60-day stay at the DVCC Stamford SafeHouse and she felt confident that her abusive boyfriend of several years would no longer be a problem. She wanted to return to the town in another part of the state where she had a part-time job, affordable care for her young child and a support system of friends. The only problem was that she had no place to live and limited funds for housing. So Kaylie called the homeless shelter nearest to her town. It appeared the shelter would be able to accommodate her, until she was asked if she had been a victim of domestic violence in the past 8 to 10 years. When she said yes, the intake counselor informed Kaylie the homeless shelter couldn't accept her and that she needed to go to a domestic violence shelter.

"But that's where I am now, and I don't need to be here any longer," Kaylie tried to explain.

DVCC's Housing Advocate, Katie Evans, intervened and eventually got an apology from staff at the shelter and a promise that they would re-evaluate their policy regarding domestic violence victims. However, by then the shelter was full, and Kaylie ended up staying with a friend.

"Essentially, the shelter was in violation of the Fair Housing Act," Evans said, adding that a similar incident had occurred at another homeless shelter a couple of weeks later. "This place wouldn't even discuss the possibility that what they were doing was illegal," Evans said.

Evans has joined the Stamford Continuum of Care and the Norwalk Continuum of Care; both of these organizations address homelessness and receive funding from HUD. In Stamford Evans co-chairs the Supportive Services work group and in Norwalk she serves on the Supportive Services work group and the Housing work group.