gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 86

It’s a Community Issue ensure the safety of its clients, who are women and girls. In June, the County Board of Supervisors announced it would allocate $5 million of its new fiscal year budget to domestic violence programs. Supervisors will consider making an additional $5 million allocation in January. The funds will help the county provide domestic violence survivors with vital resources for housing, employment training, mental health, and childcare. From Shelter to Self-Sufficiency According to Perla Flores, Division Director for Community Solutions, “The need for services provided by La Isla Pacifica has increased. We are typically operating at capacity—with 14 beds for domestic violence survivors and 4 beds for survivors of human trafficking crimes—and the average stay is 45 days.” Community Solutions’ clients reflect the county demographic (60 percent are people of color with the majority being Latina). Their educational backgrounds range from illiterate to college graduate. More often than not, they lack economic independence and a support network; conditions that conspire to trap them in a cycle of domestic violence. “We try to meet survivors where they are, with a trauma- informed approach to service,” Flores explained. We ask, ‘What’s happened?’ rather than ‘What’s wrong with you?’” Flores explained how case managers serve clients. “The first step is to assess what a survivor needs so we can determine how to empower them by providing food, shelter, clothing, safety, and access to medical and mental health services. During crisis intervention, we work to establish stability and security, which may involve a restraining order and relocation.” The second step is to establish stability, including connecting clients to resources needed for self-sufficiency. This may include navigating the social services benefits system, having access to family law or immigration attorneys, studying ESL, or vocational training. There’s a lot of ground to cover and the process can take six or eight months. “In Santa Clara County there’s a huge lack of affordable housing,” Flores said. “Program funding allows us to provide subsidies to some domestic violence survivors so they can maintain a lease with some rental support,” Flores said. Case managers develop relationships with apartment owners, and with individual homeowners who can sublease a room to clients.” Group workshops focus on resume building, parenting and other life skills. A therapist is available for individual and family counseling. Community Solutions works closely with county and local municipal and social services agencies and law enforcement to coordinate services for optimal access by clients. “Every Wednesday we have support resources at the South County Family Justice Center so survivors can get all their needs met in one place,” Flores added. 86 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN According to Flores, “Funds are important, but community awareness is more important. It’s the only way we’re going to eradicate domestic violence. Domestic violence and gender- based violence are only able to thrive when there’s isolation. It’s not a private family issue, it’s everyone’s issue.” “We need resources to develop and implement preven- tion programs, particularly in our schools, and for research/ evaluation of domestic violence. Roughly 40 percent of our shelter clients are foreign born. The current administration is not very supportive of efforts to provide resources and relief to foreign-born victims. When there’s fear, they may turn to individuals who’ll make false promises and take advantage of them, instead of agencies prepared to help. We need to educate everyone in every neighborhood. We want people to let their friends and neighbors know that free, confidential information and representation is available to anyone who is experiencing domestic violence and abuse. Our local and county partners are committed to working with us to make this happen. 24-HOUR CRISIS LINES AACI Asian Women’s Home 1-408-975-2739 — and Community Solutions Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse: 1-877-363-7238 Youth & Family Crisis Line:  Ĵ̴)չͽѥ̹ɟ P չMѥ)9ЁȁMѥ́ѼѥY(ĴȃPёȹɟ P9Mѥ)e] MY(Ĵȴ)ݍعɟ Pѹݽɭɉѕɕݽ)5ɤ(ĴȴЃPɤɟ ܹɥɕ)Y9QL) ]є ) չMѥ́չɅ͕ȃ9ٕȀɓ ɽش)1ɅQɔ5ѕɕI5ɝ!)ȰٔͥЁՍѥ̰ٔͥ)Ёѥ聍չͽѥ̹ɜ(UхMՅYQɽ՝ ձɅ1̈) ͔Aɕٕѥ չMф Ʉ չ)5 չ䀘 ձɅ ѕ)9ٕȀɹѼ(͠M͠Յɕ͕хѥ)1ЁɕЁɽ٥)IYM@͍عɜͥѕ̽A̽)= Q= H9=Y5 H)ѽ乍