Many survivors do not leave abusive situations due to the difficulties of obtaining safe, independent housing. South Asian survivors often face added barriers such as limited English proficiency, limited work experience, and xenophobic discrimination. Preventing homelessness and increasing access to housing has been core to Sakhi’s efforts to support South Asian survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) since the early 1990s.
In 2016, 22% of Sakhi’s clients chose to not change a violent living situation even after six months of working with a Sakhi Program Advocate and being presented with short-term housing options.
Rather than quickly move to temporary or emergency housing, many Sakhi clients choose to remain in dangerous circumstances, waiting to find longer-term housing. As such, we recognized the need for a longer-term stable housing program. In addition to years of experience providing housing counseling through our Economic Empowerment Program, in April 2019 Sakhi created its formal transitional housing program to provide tenant-based rental assistance.
Sakhi’s Housing Program provides program participants with the resources and support they need to find stable, supportive and safe housing for themselves and their dependents. Our program helps participants make on-time and full rental and utility payments. Through this program, we offer assistance with other related expenses such as payment of security deposits as well as all other costs incidental to relocation to supportive housing.
The overarching goal of this program is to provide assistance to individuals who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, simultaneously building up their financial capacity and ability to provide for themselves and their families.
In addition to temporary housing, we aim to create a home environment for participants that is cohesive with achieving eventual economic independence and stability.