Some families arrive with nothing but the clothing they're wearing. Entering the front door of our shelters is, for many of our clients, a new beginning.
Why does a woman choose to enter a shelter?
How does a woman get to a shelter?
The primary reason women seek shelter is to secure the safety of themselves and their children. In many instances, the threat of injury or death is so great that no other alternative but shelter exists. Despite the risks involved in staying in a violent home, the decision to leave is a difficult one, as women and children may be forced to sever relationships with families and friends, and in many cases "start over." Although many women are able to maintain contact with family members, the batterer may know their addresses, posing a risk to the woman if she has contact with them. Our goal at Safe Horizon is to create a safe place for women to stay by providing confidential shelter and supportive living environments that allow them to make informed choices about their future.
At Safe Horizon, battered women receive help in a number of ways. They will often contact the agency through our domestic violence hotline at 800.621.HOPE (4673), a phone number established by New York City to respond to the needs of abused city residents. We answer over 12,000 calls each month on our domestic violence hotline. When a woman calls the hotline, a trained domestic violence counselor answers the phone and offers crisis counseling and referrals to other services. If the counselor and woman agree that shelter placement is necessary, the counselor will attempt to find a shelter bed for her. Our hotline is the clearinghouse for all beds in New York City's shelter system, so we search all housing options, not just those run by Safe Horizon. Unfortunately, domestic violence shelter space is limited in New York City and not everyone is placed. If the counselor locates a space, the woman will have an intake interview with a shelter employee to confirm her eligibility and "fit" with that program. If necessary, the shelter employee and/or hotline counselor will help her arrange transportation to the shelter.