Domestic violence is often viewed in isolation. It’s thought to be an issue that only exists between partners behind closed doors. The reality is that the causes and consequences of abusive relationships are connected to all areas of our society and many of the issues we are faced with everyday.

An example of this intersectionality is the relationship between domestic violence and homelessness. Did you know that 38% of all victims of domestic violence become homeless at some point in their lives? Here are 3 reasons why domestic violence and homelessness are linked.

Domestic Violence and Homelessness HD


1. Economic Instability

Abusers commonly sabotage a victim’s economic stability, making them more vulnerable to homelessness. Whether it’s through damaging a victim’s credit score or denying a victim access to their own income or savings, abusers often find ways to affect an individual’s financial independence and stability to maintain their own power and control. This makes it difficult for victims who have made the decision to leave to be able to access new housing.


2. Limited Temporary Housing

Emergency shelters offer an incredible refuge and security to victims of domestic violence. They can be a space of healing and a place to determine next steps in the journey away from abuse. Emergency shelters, however, are not permanent. The average stay is only 60 days while the average time it takes to find housing is 6-10 months. For individuals or families without another place to seek temporary housing, homelessness is the only option.


3. Lack of Affordable Housing

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, for every 100 extremely low income (ELI) renter households, only 30 rental units are readily available and affordable. The scarcity of accessible housing makes it incredibly difficult for domestic violence victims to find a place to live after they have fled an abusive relationship. This keeps many emergency shelters at capacity and causes many families or individuals in need of shelter to be turned away. When choosing between returning to an abuser and homelessness, many choose homelessness.


At My Sisters’ Place, it is a priority to offer emergency shelter to victims of abuse to provide safety, refuge, and avoid the possibility of homelessness. Our two shelters have a total of 38 beds and allow residents to stay up to 90 days with the possibility of a 45-day extension. In 2015, MSP provided housing to more than 170 adults and children. Check out our emergency shelter page to learn more about this program.