Sometimes referred to as a “pandemic within a pandemic,” domestic violence has been on the rise due to COVID-19. While stay-at-home orders have been critical to protecting public health, they have inadvertently created conditions that have led to spikes in abuse; essentially, trapping victims with their abusers. Prior to coronavirus, domestic violence shelters in Los Angeles were already struggling to meet the high demand for services from persons fleeing violence. Simply put, there were fewer beds available than individuals in need of them. COVID-19 has further exposed this disparity.
Thanks to an increased focus on domestic violence from Congress, Los Angeles now has additional resources to respond to greater community need. A few months ago, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) awarded the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) $5 million in new housing resources for survivors. This was on top of the $5 million awarded in 2019. In both cases, Shelter Partnership led the planning and writing of the successful application for federal assistance. Los Angeles is one of a small handful of communities that received awards in both years.
For these grants, LAHSA is partnering with several organizations to establish new rapid re-housing programs and dozens of shelter beds for survivors, with Shelter Partnership’s support. While none of us could have predicted the increased need for these resources, we are thrilled that Los Angeles can use them at this time.