Imagine your home became unsafe, a place where you could be physically or emotionally harmed, even sexually assaulted. What would you do if you couldn’t afford to leave? Would you risk facing poverty and homelessness? Would you gather your children and escape, not knowing where you could be safe?
These are difficult and heartbreaking questions that no one should have to ask or face. Unfortunately, many people confront these challenges every day. Thankfully, organizations like Family Sunshine Center (FSC) are there to help. FSC’s Residential Services program is designed to provide individuals escaping family violence or sexual assault with a chance to rebuild their lives in a safe and violence-free environment.
So, how does it all work? This article will guide you through the different housing programs and services that FSC offers.
It all begins with a phone call. When a victim reaches out to FSC through our 24-hour resource line, a crisis counselor offers support, information, access to shelter, and referrals to community resources. The counselor works with the victim to ensure they have a safe place to go. If they don’t, the first step is Emergency Housing.
Emergency Shelter (ES) is a short-term housing option (3-5 days) that provides clients and their children with the time and resources needed to address their trauma and plan for the future. Families can stay together in dormitory-style housing and receive clothing, food, and other essential items. Each client is assigned a Case Manager and, if necessary, a Child Advocate. The Case Manager helps them access available services and assess their future housing needs. This support continues throughout their involvement with FSC’s Residential Program. There are different housing options tailored to each client’s specific needs.
After their stay in Emergency Shelter, many clients leave the program to stay with family and friends, while others return home. For those who remain in the program, the next step is Transitional Housing.
If ES is the decompression period for clients after leaving abusive homes, Transitional Housing (TH) is when the work towards safety and independence truly begins. Along with secure housing, meals, and basic necessities, this phase provides important supportive services such as case management, financial coaching, employment assistance, children’s services, life skills training, and referrals for community assistance.
Transitional Housing is divided into two phases. Phase 1 (TH1) takes place in the same facility as the emergency shelter, so clients don’t have to worry about moving too soon. All the necessary services are available on-site, eliminating transportation and childcare concerns.
Some clients progress on to Transitional Housing Phase 2 or the Rapid ReHousing program, while others choose to move to their own place or return home.
Transitional Housing Phase 2 (TH2) is for those clients who desire to be more independent, but still need access to the support and services provided by FSC. In the Exodus community, a 12-unit apartment complex with limited on-site support services, clients can live rent-free, but are responsible for their own utilities.
Some clients will leave TH2 and move on to the Rapid ReHousing program, while others choose to transition out of the program.
The Rapid ReHousing (RRH) program helps clients find secure, long-term housing quickly. This short-term assistance supports victims of domestic violence or sexual assault in becoming self-sufficient and stable in the community. RRH assists clients in locating and obtaining permanent housing based on their needs and financial resources.
Residential clients have the opportunity to access follow-up services once they transition from FSC programs to independent living. These follow-up services include ongoing support and guidance, case management, and crucial emotional support, as well as community advocacy. Follow-up services aim to assist clients in fulfilling their basic needs by connecting them with diverse resources and donations, offering legal advocacy and court accompaniment, facilitating transportation, and providing ongoing referrals and linkages to essential services. Moreover, these services enhance clients’ understanding of and access to community resources, advocate for their housing needs, and provide assistance in obtaining necessary material possessions such as clothing, food, furniture, and home and personal items.
FSC’s residential programs and services are tailored to meet each client’s individual needs. For some, the shelter is a safe space to gather their thoughts and plan for the future. For others, it serves as a steppingstone towards long-term housing and comprehensive support. The goal of Residential Services is to help clients find safe and secure housing, recover from the trauma they have endured, and become active members of their community.
Click here for more information on our residential services program.