let’s house all survivors
Tracking, Advocacy, and Training
Our Role as a Department
- We closely follow domestic violence-related housing trends, laws, policy, and practice and engage in advocacy efforts based on our housing policy agenda. Some recent campaigns include the 2022 national reauthorization of VAWA as well as source of income discrimination policy advocacy in Illinois.
- We answer frequently asked questions about survivors’ rights and how to access safe housing as well as offer consultations and support on survivors’ housing legal rights.
- We provide training and technical assistance on housing public policy, advocacy, and legislative issues. Past trainings have included Accessing Safe Housing and Leaving Unsafe Spaces and Fair Housing Rights for Survivors and Requesting Reasonable Accommodations.
- We expand housing options for survivors by advocating for priority for survivors in housing and partnering with organizations to increase housing availability for survivors. Additionally, we engage with other community organizations to help provide resources that support survivors’ safety, independence, and housing stability.
- We offer flexible financial assistance to address housing needs. When unrestricted funds can be given directly to survivors, they gain options for finding safety and stability as they rebuild their lives after abuse.
Access and Equity
Our Housing Values
Survivor-Led Housing First Approach.
We advocate for approaches that are led by survivors’ needs and wants and focus on ensuring survivors are stably housed first, before moving on to other supports needed.
- Survivors are the best people to identify what they need and how they can stay safe. We support survivors in leading the process, identifying their goals, and deciding what is safe for them.
- Housing is a primary barrier to leaving an abusive relationship and reaching safety. As such, housing should be addressed first. Everything else can be figured out later.
- We work to limit barriers to leaving unsafe housing or accessing safe housing (such as requiring third-party documentation, delays in transferring housing subsidies, or charging penalties to ending a lease early).
Trauma-Informed, Confidential, and Safe Housing.
We provide leadership in developing shelter and housing approaches that are trauma responsive, confidential, and safe for individuals and families escaping abuse and violence.
- How can we help with HMIS, CES, VAWA ET policies? We review and collaborate on housing policies for survivors, including admissions decisions, preferencing, or Violence Against Women Act Emergency Transfer Plans.
- Confidentiality is key for making housing safe.
Accessible Housing for Marginalized Communities
We address survivor-specific needs in housing, including making housing accessible to survivors with disabilities or who have limited English language proficiency as well as limiting discrimination or retaliation based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or having experienced gender-based violence.
Fair Housing for Survivors.
We address policies that unfairly target survivors in housing and advocate against discrimination or retaliation based on GBV, including crime-free/nuisance ordinances or other systems that penalize survivors for contacting emergency services or for the acts of the people harming them, having an order of protection, or moving for their safety.
Gender-Based Violence and Housing Working Group
We host a collaboration of Chicago metro advocates, attorneys, survivors, and other stakeholders that meet every other month to discuss:
- Housing issues that affect survivors;
- Housing opportunities;
- Opportunities to provide feedback on housing policy; and
- Best practices in supporting survivors in housing
If you are interested in joining our working group, please reach out to Jaclyn Zarack Koriath at firstname.lastname@example.org.