“The fact that [the client] was able to get help the day of, I think she was totally shocked,” says Miriam Valencia, a Domestic Violence Advocate, about the responsiveness of the Domestic Violence Housing Program.
“They help you a lot with self-sufficiency. They are like your coaches and cheerleaders to help you keep going.”
Jeanet, a DV Housing client
The program, which is a branch of MFS’ Housing Services, aims to connect clients who are experiencing domestic or gendered violence, homelessness, or financial hardships with stable housing and other resources to enable self-sufficiency.
But beyond housing, the program is able to give client’s back their sense of control and agency, often after a situation where they had none.
“It’s an opportunity; I was down on my luck,” says Jeanet, a DV Housing client. “I was going through financial hardship, going through a horrible divorce, and they were able to assist. It was amazing, especially having two kids.” Not only did Miriam assist Jeanet with housing, she was able to support her with whatever other needs her family had.
“I do check in’s, I call them to see how they are, what they need,” she says. Miriam connected Jeanet and her sons with counseling services and encouraged Jeanet to pursue new career goals.
“She called and asked what I wanted to do,” recalls Jeanet. “It makes you start thinking, ‘what do I want for myself?’” Later, Jeanet went on to obtain real estate licenses, sponsored by the program. “I don’t have to worry about being unemployed again. My licenses will always be with me,” she says.
Miriam stresses the importance of listening to her clients’ needs and wants. “It’s not a plan without them,” she explains. “If I don’t have their input, their buy in, it’s not going to work.”
“It’s more than just housing,” says Jeanet. “It’s like a family that is going to keep pushing you through the hard times. They give you the motivation to get back on your feet.”
“I believe in this program and what it does for survivors.”
Miriam Valencia, a Domestic Violence Advocate, of the responsiveness the Domestic Violence Housing Program