Session: The Evolving Landscape of Housing Interventions for Intimate Partner Violence Survivors: Opportunities and Challenges for Practice, Policy, and Research (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

143 The Evolving Landscape of Housing Interventions for Intimate Partner Violence Survivors: Opportunities and Challenges for Practice, Policy, and Research

Friday, January 17, 2020: 3:45 PM-5:15 PM
Liberty Ballroom K, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Violence against Women and Children (VAWC)
Symposium Organizer:
Kristie Thomas, PhD, Simmons College
Suzanne Marcus, MA, National Alliance for Safe Housing
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated an unprecedented 60.9 million dollars to fund housing interventions for intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors and their families (e.g., rapid re-housing, coordinated shelter entry). Beyond its practical utility, HUD's targeted support for homeless and precariously housed IPV survivors indicates how much the service and policy landscape for survivors has evolved in recent years. Specifically, there has been a profound shift toward prevention and low barrier intervention strategies that exit IPV survivors out of shelters and into more stable housing as quickly as possible. As a result, many IPV programs have begun to adopt Housing First (HF) and Rapid Rehousing models as either additions to emergency shelter and transitional housing, or as replacements for those services (Sullivan & Olsen, 2017). In addition, there has been a concerted effort by both the IPV shelter system and the homeless shelter system to increase collaboration and reduce the silos in which these systems have historically operated (Olsen, Rollins, & Billhardt, 2013).

Although these paradigm shifts have presented important opportunities for reimaging IPV services, they are not without their challenges. As one example, the Housing First model's philosophy of client autonomy and flexibility (Padgett, Henwood, & Tsemberis, 2016) aligns well with the IPV movement's emphasis on survivor-defined practice (Sullivan & Olsen, 2017). However, IPV programs have had to develop new strategies to put these principles into practice in ways that address the unique safety needs of homeless survivors. As another example, differing and sometimes contradictory federal policies can create obstacles to cross-system collaboration.

This symposium will feature three papers on innovative housing interventions for IPV survivors to illuminate their inherent opportunities and challenges. The first paper examines SASH (Survivors Achieving Stable Housing), a program that emerged from an ongoing academic-practitioner partnership of researchers, practitioners, and a public housing authority. SASH's primary purpose is to allocate a set of earmarked “Housing Choice” vouchers to IPV survivors. Presenters will describe the program, with an emphasis on challenges and successes, and present preliminary findings from the evaluation component. The second paper also focuses on SASH, but hones in on the evidence-informed screening process that was developed to allocate vouchers to survivors. Presenters will describe the development of the screening tool, allocation process, lessons learned, and how those lessons are being implemented for future voucher allocation. The third paper presents findings from an evaluation of a newly established IPV transitional housing program offering coordinated services from IPV and homeless prevention organizations. In-depth interviews with program participants highlight the extent to which the transitional housing program could address their unique and complex service needs.

The symposium will feature a discussant from the service community whose primary area of expertise is alternative housing programs for IPV survivors. She will lead a structured discussion to identify strategies that can engage practice, research, and policy communities to successfully achieve the social work Grand Challenge Initiatives of Stopping Family Violence and Ending Homelessness.

* noted as presenting author
Survivors Achieving Stable Housing (SASH): A Case Study
Jill Messing, MSW, PhD, Arizona State University; Kristie Thomas, PhD, Simmons College; Allison Ward-Lasher, MSW, Arizona State University
No Easy Decisions: Developing an Evidence-Informed Process to Allocate Housing Choice Vouchers to Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Kristie Thomas, PhD, Simmons College; Jill Messing, MSW, PhD, Arizona State University; Allison Ward-Lasher, MSW, Arizona State University
Creating Opportunities for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence: Lessons from a Transitional Housing Program Evaluation
Shanti Kulkarni, PhD, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Leila Wood, PhD, University of Texas at Austin
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