Women’s Shelter: Demand Grows, Services Continue

By Dianne Anderson

More people are open about domestic violence lately and sometimes there’s more action around politics, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to relax.

Looking around Long Beach, the Women’s Shelter has seen an increase in demand for women with children trying to escape domestic violence, especially since COVID and the end of the moratorium.

Lily Lopez, director of programs at the shelter, said the lockdown during the pandemic wasn’t always due to the pandemic.

But, at least before COVID-19, some had a way of getting away from their attackers.

“When COVID started, everyone couldn’t go out, they couldn’t go to their jobs, that’s when the abuse started. That’s when we were very affected by the calls telephones, direct lines,” she said.

The shelter was also limited due to restricted health department access to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She had to think outside the box and collaborate to get women into hotel rooms so their organization could provide services.

Now that housing costs, evictions and energy bills are skyrocketing, the pandemic appears to have subsided, but financial pressure is another aspect of abuse. Women in danger or mothers with children may be afraid to leave and find themselves homeless.

She said demand is high for shelters, but help is available as various agencies step up.

His organization provides training so their wives can find jobs and finally get to a place where they can pay the bills, but affordability doesn’t go that far at the local level.

“It’s really hard to rent anything in the city of Long Beach or in LA County, for that matter. A lot of our customers have moved from Los Angeles to the Inland Empire,” he said. she stated.

Their organization works with several other housing agencies, where 30-45% of their clients are placed. Many of the others go to transitional shelters if they need an extended stay.

“They help them with jobs and daycare,” she said. “The work we do here is the awareness part. We are able to provide a continuum of care, case management and parenting classes. We also incorporate a financial literacy course because people haven’t saved.

The organization asks for and appreciates donations, but cannot accept used clothing due to health department COVID restrictions. Instead, people can give gift cards.

She invites everyone to support their October gala, which she hopes will draw a crowd.

“We all understand that few people have a lot of money right now, for us anything they can give is fine,” she said, adding that one of the things they continue to do to use and need are face masks and hand sanitizers.

The Domestic Violence Resource Center is located at 4201 Long Beach Blvd., Ste. 102. It is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In June, the Harvard Gazette cited the American Journal of Emergency Medicine reporting alarming trends in domestic violence in the United States. The national domestic violence hotline received more than 74,000 calls, chats and texts in February, the highest monthly contact volume in its 25-year history.

Getting help is important.

Domestic violence is also not limited to a certain group of people. Lopez said any social status, including men in the LGBTQ community, don’t have to stay in dangerous situations.

“It can happen to anyone. There is no color line for domestic violence, low economic status or high status, it can be a teacher, a professor, someone who has no no money,” she said.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that nearly 20 people every minute – some 10 million women and men each year – are physically assaulted by an intimate partner in the United States.

One in four women and one in nine men suffer from serious domestic violence, sexual violence, sexually transmitted diseases and/or sexual harassment and physical and mental disorders.

Funding for the American Rescue Plan Act dwindled last year in the form of additional city and state services to advance the issue.

Organizations such as the Long Beach Community Foundation have also helped with grants in the past for his organization.

Lately, she said the shelter is expanding its services with mental health help, now available online and attracting attendance.

Even though demand has increased, she said there are more resources today than in previous decades to meet the needs of someone experiencing domestic violence.

“They don’t have to come there. That’s another element, the anxiety related to leaving the house. We can use sanity to serve these clients at some of our classes on Zoom, and have more attendees on zoom than coming in person,” she said.

Fallout statistics since COVID-19 keep coming in.

According to the Emory University School of Medicine’s Nia Project, 85% of victims of domestic violence, called victims of spousal abuse, are women. Nia is a principle of Kwanzaa, meaning purpose.

“A woman is beaten every 9 seconds,” their website says. “Each year, nearly 5.3 million incidents of domestic violence occur among American women ages 18 and older. IPV causes nearly 1,300 deaths and 2 million injuries each year in the United States. More than 3 women are killed by husbands/boyfriends every day. »

For assistance or for more information about the gala,

https://www.womenshelterlb.org/contact-us/

For more information, call the Domestic Violence Resource Center at (562)-437-7233

https://psychiatry.emory.edu/niaproject/index.html

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