SAN FRANCISCO─On Thursday, April 9, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the Mayor of San Francisco announced that the city secured 20 furnished apartment units for survivors of domestic violence. The temporary homes are provided by Veritas, and are the result of a partnership between District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Mayor London Breed, the Human Services Agency, and the city’s community-based domestic violence advocates.
“As we shelter in place to limit COVID transmission, survivors of domestic violence are at an increased risk of danger and victimization by their abusers,” said District Attorney Boudin. “Now more than ever, we must work together to ensure that the most vulnerable of our victims have a place to shelter free from abuse. We have come up with an immediate plan for 20 furnished apartments and are working collaboratively to find shelter for many more survivors in the coming days.”
“While staying home except for essential needs is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, it isn’t the safest option for everyone. On top of dealing with the global pandemic, far too many families also have to deal with the threat of violence and abuse at home, all while being more socially isolated from their friends and other support networks,” said Mayor Breed. “We are seeing a concerning increase in cases of domestic violence around the world and in San Francisco, and there’s a growing need to have more safe places for survivors to go. I’m grateful to Veritas for stepping up and donating these 20 homes so that we have some additional resources for people who need help during this uniquely challenging time.”
According to a news release from the SFDA’s Office, in past weeks and months, Shelter-in-Place Orders were issued throughout the world to slow the spread of COVID-19. It has created a difficult and often dangerous situation for individuals who are experiencing domestic violence. Some organizations have modified service delivery to provide virtual support for those who reside in the same home as the abusive partner.
In the first week after the shelter-in-place directive, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office saw an initial spike of a 60 percent increase in clients referred to its Victim Services Division compared to the same week in 2019. In the second week, the office saw a 33 percent decrease in new client referrals.
Veritas, a San Francisco-based real estate management company, is donating 20 furnished apartment units for temporary use by domestic violence survivors as part of their Home Bridge Program. The homes are located in secure buildings throughout the city. Survivors and their families, including their pets, can move in and can stay for up to 90 days at no cost. The apartments should be available by the end of the week.
Survivors will be supported by one of our community-based domestic violence agencies, who will provide wraparound services and referrals. DV agencies will refer clients directly as needed, based on availability.
“For people experiencing domestic violence, the public health stay-at-home orders meant to save lives can have the unintended consequence of isolating them from the community and services that help keep families safe,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “We often face challenges to find alternative housing for people experiencing abuse. We are grateful for Veritas’ generosity and the opportunity to connect these vital housing sites to the District Attorney’s Office as an important part of the City’s response to increased threats of violence during this unprecedented global pandemic.”
“As a homegrown San Francisco business, we feel deeply tied to our community and know how hard this public health crisis has been on everyone, especially the most vulnerable,” said Yat‑Pang Au, Founder and CEO Veritas Investments. “Whether it’s providing temporary housing for individuals displaced by fire, families seeking care at our local medical institutions, or in this case, survivors of domestic violence, Veritas is always seeking ways to be a supportive member of the San Francisco community.”
“La Casa de las Madres is open and working to support survivors, because, sadly, domestic violence doesn’t stop during a pandemic,” said Kathy Black, Executive Director, La Casa de las Madres. “We know that as this pandemic goes on, there will be an increased need for services and shelter, and these 20 temporary homes are a good place to start. I’m glad to see the City taking action to protect our most vulnerable residents and am thankful for Mayor Breed’s efforts to support survivors.”
Domestic violence shelters and hotlines are deemed essential businesses under the Stay Home Order and continue to operate. For those who are survivors of domestic violence or need assistance, contact:
-In an emergency, call 911
-National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
-W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Crisis Line: 415-864-4722
-La Casa de las Madres Crisis Lines: Adult Line 1-877-503-1850, Teen Line 1-877-923-0700
-Asian Women’s Shelter Crisis Line: 1-877-751-0880
-Saint Vincent de Paul Society – Riley Center Crisis Line: 415-255-0165
Resources for survivors of domestic violence can be found at https://sfgov.org/dosw/violence-against-women-prevention-and-intervention-grants-program-0.