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Exodus Community

Exodus Community Mission Statement

To enable women and children who move out of the Family Sunshine Center family violence shelter to build a better life so they are not forced to return to an abusive home for economic reasons.

Meeting a Need:

Taking a Look at the Problem

The Exodus Community concept is the direct result of a need expressed by domestic violence victims and members of the Family Sunshine Center (FSC) professional staff. This concept became a reality through strategic planning facilitated by the FSC Board of Directors. Through exit interviews with shelter residents and case manager evaluations, it was discovered that a number of abuse victims were returning to the home of their abusers for financial reasons. A majority of the women seeking shelter services from the FSC have the skills necessary to obtain minimum wage jobs. Women in higher income brackets also access FSC services, but they often have more options when searching for a place to live after leaving our shelter facility.

In 2009, the minimum wage was raised to $7.25 per hour. At this rate, a full-time employee generates $1,160 per month before taxes. Typically, this amount is not enough to cover basic living expenses such as housing, utilities, food, clothing, and insurance. And when children are in a household, the financial challenges become even more complex.

This is not an isolated problem. The American Bar Association published a brochure entitled, “Why Abuse Victims Stay,”1 which lists a number of reasons why domestic violence victims return to their abuser. In particular, this list contains four statements that directly relate to the need for establishing the Exodus Community.

  • The victim may be without financial resources if she leaves and may not have marketable job skills.
  • If the batterer is the primary wage earner, the victim may question her ability to provide for herself and her children.
  • Batterers may deny the victim access to money or financial records; batterers may also prohibit victims from working outside the home or may interfere with victims’ attempts to gain or maintain employment by refusing to allow victims to go to job interviews or by harassing victims at their workplace.
  • A victim may feel there is literally no place to go, no affordable housing, or no shelter that can accommodate her and her children.

1. American Bar Association (2001) Why Abuse Victims Stay.

The Vision: One Solution for a Complex Problem

The Exodus Community is designed to help keep domestic violence survivors from being forced to return to an abusive relationship due to their financial reliance on an abuser. The overall concept is to nurture domestic violence survivors toward self-sufficiency by helping them set and achieve goals that will give them an opportunity to better provide for themselves and their families, while allowing enough time to produce positive, long-term differences in the lives of the families being served.

In 1997, the FSC Board of Directors incorporated into their five-year strategic plan housing to help survivors who are no longer in danger but are not yet self-sufficient (transitional housing). Originally called “Project Exodus,” a long-term, transitional housing program was envisioned for family violence survivors, with the following basic concept in mind:

  • To provide income-based, affordable housing for women and their children upon exiting the FSC Shelter program.
  • To allow survivors to have enough time to attain higher educational and/or career goals.
  • To offer emotional support and continued counseling services while domestic violence survivors are in transition.
  • To provide a mentoring and life-skills development program.

The Story Behind the Name

The name “Exodus” originates from the Biblical account of the Israelites being led out of the bondage of slavery and into the Promised Land. The Exodus Community presents this same concept. Family violence victims are led out of a life of bondage and terror and into a life that offers them freedom, dignity, and self-sufficiency.

PO Box 5160, Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5160      334.206.2100