Four residents and two advocates from Broadview Shelter & Transitional Housing made the trek to Olympia this week to bring their voices to Domestic Violence Lobby Day, organized on Valentine’s Day.
The survivors had the opportunity to meet with legislative aides and advocate for increased access to affordable housing for domestic violence survivors (HB 1570) and to prohibit source of income discrimination in rental housing (HB 1633). They bravely shared their experiences with homelessness, falling through the cracks of Coordinated Entry for All, and the extreme lack of affordable housing in the Seattle area. One survivor told lawmakers:
“The rug was pulled from under me when I finally had the courage to leave my ex. I lost everything. How am I supposed to heal from that trauma, find a job, get a protection order, AND an affordable place to live in 30 days [the length of stay at a shelter]?”
Their stories were met with teary eyes and nods from the legislative aides, who agreed that homelessness encompasses more than sleeping on the street – it also means being unstably housed, moving from shelter to shelter (one survivor stayed at five different shelters with her three kids before securing transitional housing at Broadview), or sleeping in your car. Another survivor says that throughout the process of leaving her abuser, she has stayed in dozens of hotels while looking for stable housing. She brought hotel key cards to show what she’s experienced.
“I just don’t want other women to have to go through what me and my kids are going through, that’s why I’m here. You have to fight for what you want, that’s what I’ve learned.”
We are so appreciative of the survivors we work with taking the time to speak up about their experiences. Too often, high-level policy and funding decisions are made without people who have the lived experiences of homelessness at the table. We know that people know what they need best, and are so proud of our residents for raising their voices!