Two groups in Manchester are launching a project to expand housing for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
The initiative comes as the city struggles with an increase in homelessness, lack of affordable housing, and a spike in domestic violence and homicides by intimate partners.
With funding from the Department of Justice, the Manchester YWCA and Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS) will pay for up to two years of housing and utilities for women and children fleeing violence.
Manchester has only one emergency shelter, Emily's Place, for this population. It has 18 beds, but YWCA CEO Jessica Cantin says the YWCA gets over 500 requests each year.
Cantin says finding affordable housing to help residents transition out of Emily's Place is one of the YWCA's biggest challenges.
"That long-term housing and security allows them to really grow and thrive in their communities," she says. "Particularly for the individuals we’re working with, it allows them to live a life independent of the violence they’re experiencing at the hands of their abuser."
The YWCA will work with multilingual case managers from ORIS to connect with refugee and immigrant survivors.
"A lot of them, even if they know a program like this exists, their ability to access is based on someone facilitating that process in their own language," says Mukhtar Idlow, director of ORIS.
The project is expected to launch in spring 2020.