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Safe Haven Ministries to offer transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence

Habitat for Humanity

The nonprofit announced the partnership program “Safe Transitions” with Madison Church and AYA Youth Collective on Tuesday, to address the need for affordable, transitional housing in Kent County.

Safe Haven Ministries’ new partnership program “Safe Transitions” is working to provide transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence and exploitation.

The nonprofit announced the move on Tuesday, saying its collaborative partnerships with Madison Church and AYA Youth Collective will address the need for affordable housing, as well as provide flexible rental assistance and savings plans for individuals and families.

“Safe Transitions cultivates hope by creating safe housing connected to a network of community partners,” Rachel VerWys, Safe Haven Executive Director, said. “Our expansion of housing opportunity is vital during a time of agonizing housing insecurity in our community, and the reality that the intersection of domestic violence and/or human trafficking further contributes to vulnerabilities a person or a family experience.”

Individuals who have experienced domestic violence and human trafficking will be able to access transitional housing within the two separate partnerships. Safe Haven will provide comprehensive case management services to the individuals and families engaged in this program.

“AYA sees the need for this project every single day, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Safe Haven on such important work,” Lauren VanKeulen, A.Y.A Youth Collective CEO, said. “We know that safe, affordable housing is a key protective factor for young people who are experiencing both homelessness and trafficking, exploitation, and/or domestic violence. By leveraging the expertise of both Safe Haven and AYA, we believe we will be able to support survivors in an even more streamlined and cohesive way.”

Safe Haven said survivors’ goals of securing their own independent, safe housing is limited by the lack of affordable housing in Kent County and a competitive housing market. These factors put individuals and families at an increased risk of experiencing homelessness or reentering an abusive relationship to maintain housing. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 63% of women who have experienced homelessness have been victims of intimate partner violence as adults.

Last year, Safe Haven received 2,715 crisis contacts and served 79 households in their shelter, providing 8,866 nights of safety. The nonprofit said clients report their two most critical needs are safety and affordable housing. Safe Transitions will leverage the collective expertise and rich community resources through this collaborative partnership model, to meet the complex needs of survivors.

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