Mayor Bowser Recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Cuts Ribbon on New Shelter
(Washington, DC) – Today, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG), and the Executive Director of My Sister’s Place cut the ribbon on a new domestic violence shelter in the District, Sanctuary II. The non-profit organization, My Sister’s Place, through funding from the Mayor’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, acquired the new space earlier this year and will manage services at the shelter.
“We want residents to know that if they need help, we are here for them. With the support and partnership of community organizations like My Sister’s Place, we have the resources to get people out of dangerous situations and into safe, supportive housing,” said Mayor Bowser. “These additional beds, combined with the wrap-around services at the shelter, will provide a lifeline to those who need it most.”
The shelter will have six new apartment style units, including larger units that can accommodate large families. While at the shelter, survivors of domestic violence will receive counseling, individual case management, and referrals to other supportive services. Families spend between three-six months at the shelter before moving to transitional housing. The shelter will strive to be a model in providing low-barrier and wrap-around services for domestic violence victims and their families.
“Without access to safe housing in moments of crisis, survivors risk homelessness, escalated abuse, and even death,” said OVSJG Interim Director Cheryl Bozarth. “This new shelter, while not a complete solution, will provide a much-needed boost to emergency housing for survivors in the District.”
From Fiscal Year 2021 to Fiscal Year 2023, the Bowser Administration has invested over $36 million to support 709 units of housing and wrap around services for victims of domestic violence. There has been a 47% increase in funding for domestic violence housing and services since Fiscal Year 2019. In Fiscal Year 2022, OVSJG grant funding purchased two new buildings for housing, totaling 20 new units of housing; and rehabilitation/renovation to preserve nearly 70 housing units.
“We are extremely thankful to our community who generously support survivors, and to our staff, who provide superior levels of trauma-informed case management to survivors,” said Mercedes Lemp, Executive Director of My Sister’s Place. “Our new shelter is another tangible step towards breaking the cycle of domestic violence and supporting survivors.”
Anyone who may be experiencing domestic violence can contact the DC Victim Hotline, available 24/7 at 1-844-443-5732 or go to dcvictim.org to receive support and get connected with resources.
In addition to the DC Victim Hotline, residents are also encouraged to take advantage of the District’s Mental Health Hotline (1-888-793-4357 or 1-888-7WE-HELP). The Mental Health Hotline was created to provide counseling and support to residents experiencing increased anxiety and stress due to COVID-19, and it has expanded to offer guidance to address life’s day-to-day stressors and link residents to mental health specialists for individualized support.