Friday, July 18, 2014

One Family’s Path to Economic Security

By Kelly Yost Harper
Shelter Outreach Plus

Veronica* dialed 9-1-1 while huddled in a closet, arms around her children, as her husband, John, threatened through the door to kill her. Authorities arrived, and as they warned John to “calm down,” Veronica slipped out the back with her children and convinced a neighbor to drive them to a local church. The church secretary made a call and before the stars came out, Veronica and her kids were safe and warm in one of Shelter Outreach Plus's emergency shelters.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

At Family Services of Tulare County, Economic Workshops Make Connections for Survivors

By Erica Tootle
Family Services of Tulare County 

Gaining power and control over an intimate partner is at the core of domestic violence, and abusers often employ financial abuse tactics to entrap a victim in the relationship.  With support from the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the Allstate Foundation’s Building Opportunities for Survivors’ Success (B.O.S.S.) program, Family Services of Tulare County has implemented an economic empowerment program with residents at its Karen’s House emergency domestic violence shelter and its Supportive Housing program.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Asset Building for Survivors

By Partnership Staff 

Advocates know that even after domestic violence survivors leave violent relationships, there are many obstacles standing between them and long-term stability. Economic insecurity--the challenges survivors face in rebuilding their financial lives--is one of the most difficult to overcome. That's why advocates are increasingly turning to asset building as a strategy to set survivors on the path to economic solvency.

Asset building is the means by which individuals increase both their financial assets--like salary and savings--and tangible assets, such as cars and property. Focusing on building their assets in the aftermath of violence is a way for survivors to ensure their long-term safety and security.

By the time survivors succeed in extricating themselves from their abusers for good, many have experienced years of economic abuse that has thwarted their ability to save money, establish credit and acquire fundamental financial literacy. Economic abuse can come in the form of withholding the victim's paycheck, denying funds needed to buy basic necessities and even credit fraud. Given the long-term effects of such abuses, it's no surprise that many victims emerge from abusive relationships in a financially precarious position.

After years of documenting the struggles of survivors and their families to rebuild in the aftermath of violence, the federal government introduced a program through the Department of Health and Human Services to help DV organizations support clients in their financial lives. HHS funds grants to teach service providers best practices for financial literacy programs, and also helps them partner with financial institutions to provide information and trainings to the victims they serve. The HHS program additionally creates awareness-raising resources to help survivors and the public learn more about economic abuse and financial empowerment. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, one of the program grantees, created an online special resource collection specifically on asset building.

Some domestic violence agencies now make screening for economic abuse and instability a regular part of their intake procedures. By assessing things like debt level, credit history and banking needs, advocate are able to identify potential barriers to survivors' future safety. Another benefit of this type of assessment is that it encourages survivors to talk openly and plainly about their personal finances, a topic that can cause anxiety even for people who haven't experienced economic abuse.

If you're a domestic violence service provider, consider incorporating financial literacy into your core services. There are many resources available online to get you started. Helping survivors take control of their financial futures has both material and psychological benefits, and is an essential part of supporting families as they work toward long-term solvency, stability and safety.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Using B.O.S.S. to Empower Survivors

By Ana Chavez & Jessica Mondragon
RISE in San Louis Obispo County

On January 30, 2014, RISE staffers attended a Building Opportunities for Survivors’ Success (B.O.S.S.) training in Visalia. During the training we received tools, including folders and worksheets, which both clients and advocates can use. With the materials from the Allstate Financial Empowerment curriculum, we have been able to help build individualize case plans for each client as they work toward financial independence.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BOSS in Review: In Their Words


The Partnership’s Building Opportunities for Survivors’ Success (B.O.S.S.) Program is a regional initiative launched with support from the Allstate Foundation.


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