Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence Achieve Safety, Stability and Self-sufficiency at House of Ruth
By Alysia Smith on October 28, 2016
Domestic violence is a pervasive and insidious problem in American society, with one in four women experiencing physical violence and roughly four million women battered each year. On a local level, those numbers are equally distressing. A study conducted by the National Census of Domestic Violence Services found that in one 24-hour period on September 15, 2011, 866 victims came seeking help statewide.
Hope Starts Here
House of Ruth serves women, children and families struggling against the impact of lifetimes of neglect and abuse. Each of the 84 families they serve in their residential programs has experienced homelessness, as have the more than 100 single women who live with them. Sometimes they’ve been on the streets, sleeping in parks, abandoned buildings or cars. More often, women have moved from one unstable place to the next, doubling up with family, friends, acquaintances, or, often, abusive men. Urban nomads, they haven’t had a stable place to live in months or even years, until they come to House of Ruth. There, they can finally rest, breathe, and begin to think about a future more than a day or two down the road.
House of Ruth serves a more diverse group of women at their Domestic Violence Support Center, where a team of four highly skilled therapists provides counseling and case management. At the Support Center, one-third of the women served are employed, while the rest are impoverished and often lack the skills and education to compete for a job.
Keeping Children Safe, Healthy and Happy
More than 250 children live at House of Ruth’s seven programs for families, where they receive individualized attention to help overcome the behavioral and emotional challenges that accompany being born into homeless families. Children ages six weeks to five years old attend Kidspace, House of Ruth’s child and family development center, where they get an enriched curriculum, delivered in small classes to help them achieve their developmental milestones. Children from other programs for homeless families also attend Kidspace, and their parents receive case management services to help them address the multiple challenges in their lives and to help them become engaged in positive ways in their child’s development.
The children who come to House of Ruth have been raised amidst the chaos of homelessness. They are hungry for safety, support and healthy boundaries—basic requirements for their healthy development that their mothers have generally been unable to provide. Nearly every child they serve has developmental delays and many have permanent special needs.
How you can help
While House of Ruth appreciates the desire to give material items to their organization, it’s relatively easy to get the material things the women and families need, in part because there are very good organizations that collect and re-distribute donated items. Providing housing and skilled staff is the hard part, and for that reason, financial donations are the best way to help the women and children at House of Ruth.
Help more than 1,000 women and children this year by designating House of Ruth in your workplace giving campaign (CFC#83599 if you're a military or federal employee participating in the Combined Federal Campaign).