My Sisters’ Place is observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October by affirming that everyone has the right to safe, loving homes, and raising a “Sanctuary Fund” to provide housing assistance to help individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence find or remain in safe, affordable housing.

The Sanctuary Fund will be used as supplemental rental assistance for My Sisters’ Place clients who have exhausted all other community resources and are still unable to come up with the final costs to move into or remain in safe housing. All individual donations made to My Sisters’ Place during October will go into this fund, with the goal of raising $5,000 to cover housing costs such as rental application fees, emergency rental assistance to prevent eviction, move-in fees, and rental deposits.  You can donate online here.

During October, My Sisters’ Place will be displaying 110 “fairy doors” to represent the 77 women and 33 children we sheltered in 2015, as well as 104 empty doors for the shelter requests we were unable to meet. Displays of the fairy doors, as well as miniature houses to distribute information on the Sanctuary Fund and other information about domestic violence and housing, can be found at libraries and city halls throughout the county.

Community members are invited to attend a Sanctuary Night to help build fairy doors, write down messages of hope and support for survivors seeking safe housing, donate to buy house-themed seed packets, and contribute to the Sanctuary Fund. Sanctuary Nights will be held at the follow locations:

  • Oct. 11, Newport – 3:00 – 5:00 PM (Samaritan Center for Health Education, 740 SW 9th St, Newport)
  • Oct. 12, Lincoln City – 3:00 – 5:00 PM (Lincoln City Community Center, 2150 NE Oar Pl, Lincoln City)
  • Oct. 18, Siletz – 3:00 – 5:00 PM (Siletz Community Center, 402 Park Way, Siletz)
  • Oct. 28, Yachats – 3:00 – 5:00 PM (Yachats Commons, 441 U.S. 101, Yachats)

Interpersonal violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and their children, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Many individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence have trouble finding rental properties due to poor credit, rental and employment histories related to their abuse.  Abusers commonly jeopardize a victim’s economic stability. Many victims struggle to find rental properties or rental assistance due to poor credit, rental and employment histories related to the circumstances of their abuse. Some individuals may decide to stay in an unsafe situation rather than become homeless. Ultimately, 38 percent of individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence will become homeless at some point in their lives. With your help, we can help survivors in Lincoln County find and stay in a safe, loving home.

“In Lincoln County, we’re all aware that the affordable housing shortage and homelessness has a serious impact on our entire community,” says Lisa Norton, executive director at My Sisters’ Place. “But what may be less well known is how much of an impact housing scarcity has on victims of domestic violence. People might stay in unsafe situations because they can’t find or can’t afford to move anyplace else. As a community, we have the power to affirm that safe and loving homes are a right for all of us.”

My Sisters’ Place is confident that with the funding and awareness we raise during Domestic Violence Awareness Month we will be able to ensure that, thanks to our community’s support, individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence will be able to find sanctuary throughout the year.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Gillian Losh at 541-574-9424 or email at outreach@mysistersplace.us. If you or someone you know if experiencing domestic violence, call the 24-hour My Sisters’ Place Hope Line at 541-994-5959.

With special thanks to the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault for providing “Sanctuary” campaign tools.