All of the survivors interviewed alluded to the difficulty of competing for housing without personal ties or subsidies.
At the time of questioning, these survivors were being housed “creatively” or accessing housing outside the traditional market. The inability of survivors to maintain their homes had a lot to do with high housing costs and low wages.
A survivor said she never had enough money to live independently. Even when she was living with her abusive partner, they struggled to afford housing. “We were trying to take Section 8 somewhere else and we moved here to stay with his family.” Another survivor said she and her new partner would not have been able to secure affordable housing that would suit her children without the generosity of an independent, low-cost landlord from their faith community.
All of the survivors mentioned that their experiences of family violence and especially financial abuse presented unique barriers to housing. Three of the survivors felt isolated from their families, resources and community by their abuser. One of them said that she had “absolutely no one and nothing here” other than her partner.
Another survivor explained how difficult it was to navigate the rental application process after ending her abusive relationship, saying she had no rental history or financial resources on her own behalf. The time-consuming and resource-intensive process of breaking out of an abusive relationship posed more challenges for women: navigating the criminal justice system, paying legal fees, negotiating cost sharing for children, coping with the effects traumatic experiences of violence, and even recovering household belongings where they once shared with their abuser and had no place to store them in a newer, smaller house.