Empower Yourself with Tu Casa, Inc

Asha Holsopple
Tu Casa, Inc.

Every year La Puente hosts HOPE Week, a series of community events designed to promote understanding and boost education about homelessness. Throughout the week there will be a series of events and articles shared with the community. For more information please visit http://lapuenteevents.wordpress.com or our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/lapuentehome.com
Imagine having no money, no contact with family or outside support, and no job.  Faced with a dreadful choice between enduring the abuse at home or homelessness, many victims of domestic violence choose to stay where they know they have a place to sleep and food on the table. Men and women who are victims of domestic violence stay in their abusive relationships for countless reasons, be it financial, social, or for their children. Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control of one person over another in an intimate relationship and may take several forms, including financial, emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. Studies and experts continue to demonstrate the link between domestic violence and homelessness, particularly for families with children. In fact, according to a study through the Michigan Program on Poverty and Social Welfare, women who had experienced recent or ongoing domestic violence were far more likely to face eviction than other women due to their partner’s use of violence. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reports that domestic and sexual violence are the primary causes of women’s homelessness: “Between 22% and 57% of homeless women report that domestic or sexual violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness.”  The Center also reports, “Up to 100% of homeless women have experienced domestic or sexual violence at some point in their lives.”
Additionally, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 38% of all victims of domestic violence become homeless at some point in their lives, and over 90% of homeless women have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. In the San Luis Valley, in 2013, more than 1,000 nights of safe, confidential shelter were provided for adult and child victims through Tu Casa, Inc. These numbers do not include the number of survivors who have received shelter services at La Puente Home. When a victim decides to leave an abusive relationship, they often have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. This is particularly true of women with few resources. A victim of domestic violence will often leave an abuser multiple times before finally escaping the violence, therefore, experiencing multiple periods of homelessness. Lack of affordable housing and long waiting lists for assisted housing mean many women and their children are forced to choose between abuse at home and life on the streets. Moreover, shelters are frequently filled to capacity and have no option but to turn people away, including victims and their children. Domestic violence is a severe, cruel, and unnecessary social crisis. We have the resources, manpower, and know-how to put an end to this violence.  Until our community makes a conscious and intentional stand against domestic and sexual violence, services such as those provided by Tu Casa will always be needed. Let our legacy be one of action, a generation of doers, who cared deeply and in earnest for the strength, courage, determination, and conviction to empower those in need.
Tu Casa, Inc. is a 501©3 charity whose vision is to empower children and adults to live healthy, violence-free lives.  Their free, confidential services are available in the 6 counties of the SLV, and include 24-hr crisis intervention, victim advocacy and counseling for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault and their families. Join Tu Casa for various activities throughout the month of October as it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (details available at www.slvtucasa.net). If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence and/or sexual assault, please contact Tu Casa’s 24-hr Hotline at 719.589.2465, visit their website www.slvtucasa.net or e-mail info@slvtucasa.net.

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