If you’ve been following us on social media this month, you’ve learned about our Housing Assistance Program. Here’s a recap: Our Housing Assistance Program (HAP) is available to survivors of domestic violence needing assistance with housing support who are currently engaged in Safe Harbor’s shelter and/or community-based programs. HAP provides secure and stable housing to survivors and their children by providing a percentage of rental and utility assistance.
Here's a closer look at how we achieve that. When we have openings in the HAP program, there is an application process that current clients must complete. Once a client is accepted into HAP, the Program Manager, Adriene, works with them to identify a housing unit. We build relationships with landlords and explain that this program will be responsible for housing expenses for the survivor for a period of time as they are working toward financial stability. The survivor then has the opportunity to transition to self-sufficiency as time permits. Timing depends on so many factors but are individual and relate directly to each client’s barriers and successes. Through HAP, a survivor can receive up to 24 months of rental assistance.
One of the important concepts our HAP program is built upon is the “housing first” concept. Our HAP Program Manager, Adriene, shared that, “like the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, people who don’t have a roof over their head aren’t thinking about how to be their greatest selves. So, our program doesn’t require them to have it all together. Even if they aren’t employed, they’re still eligible to be in the program. We provide the assistance to get them into housing FIRST, and then work with them on achieving everything else, including, employment, education, self-sufficiency, etc.” Additionally, “housing first” is based on the theory that client choicemust play a role in housing selection. When a client is able to and involved in the choosing of their housing that choice is likely to make a client more successful in remaining housed and improving their life.
Finding safe, stable and affordable housing is an incredible challenge in the Upstate and nationwide. Through programs like HAP, Safe Harbor is able to offer survivors of domestic violence the resources they need to achieve this significant goal for themselves and their children – a milestone on the pathway to starting a new life.