Housing and Homeless Services Tribal Technical Assistance
for OVW Tribal Governments Grantees
Red Wind works with grantees to aid them in the development of native/tribal specific transitional housing and emergency shelter programs, economic justice, and culturally centered responses for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.
We can help you with your policy/protocol development, putting in place operational structures, basic advocacy skills and developing strategies to different circumstances that occur.
Activities include one-to-one consultation, resource identification, and problem solving via phone or video conference (as requested); webinars; onsite Transitional Housing or Emergency Shelter Facilitated Meetings/Work Sessions; Peer Site Visits for tribal programs to visit existing programs and learn from their work; and a Bi-annual National Tribal Transitional Housing and Emergency Shelter Conference.
When a survivor comes in, we take them to a comfortable place; we offer them a cup of tea and ask if they’d like to rest.
More than 1 in 2 American Indian and Alaska Native women (55.5%) have experienced physical violence by intimate partners in their lifetime and 40.5% of women have missed days of work or school because of their perpetrators actions (National Institute of Justice Research Report, Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men) This can create economic hardship making it hard to maintain housing. Not only do some women miss work but some women might be forced into not working, making it harder to leave because they have no money for housing.
The dynamics of domestic violence can impact the victim's access to safe housing. A perpetrator might use economic abuse, intimidation, threats, and/or isolation to make leaving or the idea of leaving off the table. Societal factors also impact the ability to access safe housing due to a lack of resources (affordable housing, room at shelters, no equal pay for women, lack of childcare support, etc.).
The National Coalition for the Homeless explain that domestic violence is a contributing factor to homelessness because as women leave, they often have nowhere to turn. And according to The National Network to End Domestic Violence, "38% of all victims of domestic violence become homeless at some point in their lives and will often leave an abuser multiple times before finally escaping the violence, and therefore experiencing multiple episodes of homelessness." (2016). The percentage of mothers experiencing homelessness with children who previously experienced domestic violence is 80% (domesticshelters.org). The fear of becoming homeless becomes a barrier for women who would like to escape the violence, making the need for shelter and transitional housing critical in keeping women and children safe.
Transitional Housing, according to the homeless hub, is: "…conceptualized as an immediate step between emergency crisis shelter and permanent housing. It is more long-term, service-intensive and private than emergency shelters, yet remains time-limited to stays of three months to three years. It is meant to provide a safe, supportive environment where residents can overcome trauma, begin to address the issues that led to their homeless, and begin to rebuild their support network." (2016).
For women who have experienced domestic violence, transitional housing provides a safe place to heal from the violence and build a life for themselves. Advocates in the transitional housing program have the opportunity to empower and support women into seeing their worth and helping them along their journey of healing. It is important we do it in a respectful and meaningful way.
Red Wind has worked with OVW to develop a policy review process to help programs get their policies approved quickly. The policy review and approval process can be found here.
Tribal Transitional Housing Programs just getting started find it helpful to have a template to build their policies. You can download our policy TEMPLATE here.Updated 4/22/21
Red Wind developed a ToolKit to assist programs with developing their Transitional Housing Program. You can access the Toolkit here. Sections include: • Program Development • Voluntary Services • Confidentiality • Engaged Advocacy • Safety Planning
An advocate for survivors that have experienced violence is a biased supporter for them.
Transitional Housing programs provide an opportunity to support and assist women and their children during their time of healing. Housing is just one piece of the puzzle that leads to healing. Advocates should be knowledgeable on community resources. Advocates should never enforce women in the transitional housing program to participate in anything they do not want to participate in. It is also important that advocates understand the effects of trauma.
Violence is a traumatic experience and it is important that advocates approach their advocacy in a mindful way that addresses and understands how trauma affects the person who has experienced violence. According to SAMHSA, there are immediate and delayed reactions to trauma that affect the emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral well-being of the person responding to trauma. Substance abuse can be a delayed behavioral reaction to trauma and should not be reason alone to be kicked out of the transitional housing program. Advocates should be aware of rehabilitation programs that are trauma-informed. It is also up to the participant whether they want to accept help for substance abuse. It is important to continue to safety plan with the survivor from a harm reduction approach. The Harm Reduction Coalition is a great resource and provide a worksheet on overdose prevention.
It is important to provide women with many options to help with healing. Traditional healing methods should be an option for Native women in the Transitional Housing program. This might be access to ceremonies, traditional medicines such as sage, cedar and sweetgrass.
Advocates have the opportunity to make their transitional housing program a space where everyone is treated like a sister, like a relative. And that is critical for the healing and well-being of our communities.
Housing and Homeless Services TTA: This project is supported by Grant No. 2015-TA-AX-K069 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.