Permanent Housing Assistance for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Jenesse proposes to address the homelessness crisis experienced by low-income victims of domestic violence. Housing instability and lack of safe and affordable housing options heightens families risk to become homeless. Jenesse provides housing, comprehensive supportive services, and policy change designed to break the cycle in which violence against women leads to life on the streets.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Housing and Homelessness
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Gabriel Valley
San Fernando Valley
County of Los Angeles
City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Women who are served by Jenesse have little or no access to money and very few friends or family members to rely on if she flees a violent relationship. Also, lack of employment and employable skills exacerbates the cycle of domestic violence by limiting viable options for self-sufficiency. Yet these women must raise their children on their own after leaving their batterers and they must maintain stable housing in Los Angeles, a city where the median home price is over $700,000 and rents are more than 40% higher than the national average. All these factors precipitate falling into homelessness. Jenesse believes the root or underlying cause of the homelessness epidemic is the lack of economic equity manifested in the unequal distribution of income and economic opportunities. The Covid-19 epidemic has exasperated the persistent racial and social inequities and escalated the financial disparities and instability for people of color living in the least affordable housing market in the U.S.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Jenesse prepares domestic violence (DV) survivors for independent living and helps the survivors who have completed our shelter programs obtain safe, permanent housing for themselves and their families. In addition, clients learn how to build their credit, landlord-tenant expectations, use housing apps, and sign a lease contract. This program helps clients in various ways to ensure a successful transition or stay in permanent housing. The program provides survivors of DV experiencing a housing crisis with a short-term financial bridge that leads to long-term solutions such as permanent housing and supports them in their accommodation to achieve stability and improve their quality of life. The assistance available for support includes move-in help, rental or relocation assistance, utility assistance, and household start-up assistance. Our Permanent Housing Assistance staff continuously builds relationships with landlords and stakeholders to increase the availability of affordable housing units for our clients, negotiate with landlords, provide case management to promote housing retention, provide financial assistance, and link families with supportive services. Jenesse will also establish an annual conference focusing on homelessness and housing issues experienced by this population. We plan to bring together major stakeholders to network, brainstorm, and encourage policy change and educate the attendees about DV survivors' struggles and misconceptions about them as tenants.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
For the majority of our clients, it is their first time on their own. They have never had to manage a budget or finances. Without proper help, they are vulnerable to re-homelessness. We equip them with good financial planning skills and a short-term financial bridge that leads to long-term solutions such as permanent housing and support them in their accommodation to achieve stability and improve their quality of life. All these services are critical to the clients and their family to achieve self-sufficiency and stay safe. In addition, many of our local landlords had bias and/or prejudices against victims of domestic violence. The main stigma is that the client would bring destruction and chaos to their property because they would have issues with their abuser. We do a lot of education and advocacy on this front by giving the landlords statistics, success stories, and overall relationship building. We are very proud of the fact that landlords now come to us asking for tenants.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We mentor clients, help develop their skills, and also monitor the change in their income to ensure they are taking the proper steps to become financially independent. If a client doesn't hit certain increases in their income and savings at certain benchmarks, we ensure that they receive more support. We also do in person visits to ensure they are able to keep their home clean and safe and they have the means to give their children the appropriate nutrition. We also mentor them in how to be good neighbors and tenants. Clients that are struggling in certain areas are then referred to proper resources of support. We stay in touch with the clients for a minimum of twelve months. The retention rate is around 95% right now. We go through several audits every year. Internal and external audits give us insight as to the thoroughness of our record keeping as well as its accuracy. We use those experiences to adjust our operation accordingly and train the staff in any areas of opportunity.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 50
Indirect Impact: 200