Though the Citizen Potawatomi Nation House of Hope program has had an emergency shelter for victims fleeing domestic violence since 2016, a constant challenge was keeping staff on duty full time. Like many ills that plague society though, incidents of domestic violence don’t keep a 9-5 schedule, thus making it a struggle to keep the shelter open when victims may be ready to flee.
Through diligent work with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Office of Tribal Self-Governance Office though, funding to staff the shelter full time is now available through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for more than $899,000. The funding was approved by the DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women to be strengthen effective responses against American Indian and Alaska Native women.
“Before the award, we had the facility but we didn’t have the staff to keep it open full time,” said House of Hope Director Tiffany Barrett. “Unfortunately that led to a higher demand in our service area than what we and our partners could provide. We ended up in situations more than once before our shelter was ready where we had to pay for hotel rooms to get them away from their abusers.”
The grant’s direct costs will go to salary and other costs for three part-time shelter workers and four current House of Hope staff members. Support services like transitional housing assistance, food, wardrobe and fuel costs will also be used from the grant funds for those escaping an abusive partner.
“Without our help, these women would be forced to go back to their abuser for some sort of financial assistance,” explained Barrett. “We want to empower them to break free of that so the crisis intervention service dollars helps them, even if they don’t need housing specifically.”
The shelter, located in the Shawnee-Tecumseh area at an undisclosed location, is open to all women and their children. It can house four singles and three families at the same time for up to 30 days. Though the shelter is not open to men, the House of Hope does have information and resources open to those finding themselves in abusive relationships and encourages men seeking such services to contact them by phone at 405-275-3176.
The House of Hope shelter has 24-hour video surveillance, indoor and outdoor activity areas for adults and children as well as adult and child advocates and parental support groups.
“We’re very grateful to receive the grant and we look forward to being able to assist victims of domestic violence with it,” said Barrett.
If you would like to learn more about the shelter or the Citizen Potawatomi Nation House of Hope, please contact them at 800-799-7233 or visit their website at www.cpnhouseofhope.com.