As CREA recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, there is one important truth regarding this issue that cannot be ignored: access to safe housing is inextricable from a victim’s ability to begin moving forward from the abuse they have faced. This aspect of domestic violence’s tragic grip on so many across the country has only been exacerbated by COVID, as home isolation and the lockdown of life-saving facilities have made the abuse at the receiving end seem that much more inescapable.
Even prior to the pandemic, one demographic faced particular pressure as a result of domestic violence: rural communities. Often lacking institutional support, well-equipped facilities, transportation, anonymity and other resources that make safe harbor possible, victims in rural areas are especially vulnerable. According to a 2011 study by the Journal of Women’s Health, “Rural women reported significantly higher severity of physical abuse than their urban counterparts… Over 25% of women in small rural and isolated areas lived >40 miles from the closest [support] program compared with <1% of women living in urban areas.”
In many rural areas of the country, the situations faced by individuals who have fallen victim to domestic violence can still feel bleak as a result of statistics like the one mentioned above. However, there is also reason for hope and celebration this October as we turn our attention towards life-changing facilities and intervention programs serving rural populations. CREA is deeply honored to share partnership with organizations who are dedicated to creating change and making a positive dent in the heartbreaking realities of so many.
We welcome you to take a look at just three examples of affordable, rural communities whose work deserves special attention and appreciation, particularly during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Haggerty Lane / 11 units / Bozeman, Montana
Montana is a largely rural state, with an extremely low population density (the fourth lowest in the United States). These circumstances create a difficult situation for individuals experiencing domestic abuse who seek refuge, in addition to a lack of dedicated public transportation making travel difficult, if not impossible, for some. However, Haggerty Lane Apartments in Bozeman, Montana represents an important step in the right direction for those dealing with domestic abuse in Big Sky Country. The 11 one- and two-bedroom homes in this development offer options for both single people seeking a fresh start and for families in need. Additionally, this development offers supportive services to victims of sexual and domestic abuse from HAVEN, a local non-profit. Founded in 1979, HAVEN is the only non-profit serving survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking in Gallatin County. Their devotion to empowering those in their community is at the heart of what we do.
Resident views from Haggerty Lane includes Gallatin & Washburn Range mountains that line the northern areas of Yellowstone National Park.
Grace Brown House Apartments / 25 units / Cortland, NY
Named after a local woman who tragically lost her life to intimate partner violence in the early 20th century, the mission of Grace Brown House is to provide survivors of today with that which Brown could not find in her community so many years ago. Safety, agency, confidence and support are central to this development’s mission. And with a loosely spread population under 20,000, the community of Cortland, NY is exactly the place where such support is needed. Currently under construction, this development specifically aims to service homeless victims of domestic violence, with rental assistance making a new life possible for those in precarious living situations. The amenities offered in individual homes as well as community spaces, not to mention the supportive services provided by the local chapter of the YWCA, make the Grace Brown House an amazing example of domestic abuse advocacy. CREA thanks every entity involved with this development, and honors the memory of Grace Brown’s transformative life.
October 2021 Construction Site Progress for Grace Brown Apartments
KCADV Homes Hazard / 12 units / Hazard, KY
In the state of Kentucky, a striking 45.3% of women experience intimate partner physical violence in their lifetimes. Statistics like that, upsetting as they are, make properties like KCADV Homes Hazard all the more vital. The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers not one, but two housing developments targeted towards survivors. The town of Hazard’s small population and low density again fall in line with the aforementioned risk factors for victims of domestic abuse. And with 100% of the properties set aside for this population along with rental assistance, KCADV Homes Hazard is dedicated to providing new beginnings and much-needed sanctuary. This development seeks to offer a place of solace for the survivors to receive counseling, legal advocacy, clothing and adequate housing, among other basic needs as they work their way back to self‐sufficiency. The continued mission of KCADV and the legacy of their homes in Hazard, KY is something that CREA is humbled to take part in.
The vital importance and deep need for housing among victims and survivors of domestic abuse is hard to overstate. With rural populations facing so many barriers to entry in terms of secure housing, it is up to community organizations like those mentioned here to provide transformative housing opportunities that so many depend on. CREA’s mission, this Domestic Violence Awareness Month and beyond, is to support these endeavors in every community and in every way possible.
If you or someone you know is struggling with domestic violence, you can find more information and free, confidential help available 24/7 at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.