By Gina Finley, Executive Director
2020-21 has been an especially difficult time for victims of domestic violence.
Our services have been and are needed more than ever. While we had to adjust for social distancing by lowering our shelter capacity, our crisis and hotline calls went up from 873 in 2019 to 1019 in 2020. We also received additional funds for hotel/motel stays to survivors who we were unable to bring into shelter. We recognized early on that survivors may have a difficult time calling to safety plan and to find support while in a home with a perpetrator. And so, we added a text feature to our crisis line, which in some cases was a lifesaver. Even while survivors are not willing or able to safely leave an abusive situation, it is imperative that they have access to support. Our text and crisis line is 360-432-1212.
Extended Shelter Stay
Normally, Turning Pointe has a 90-day shelter stay policy, but when the stay at home orders in March 2020, we decided that we would not exit clients if they were unable to secure housing. Finding housing and other supportive services has been very hard for many survivors this last year. Multiple families were and have been with us longer than the standard 90 days. Thankfully, many now are exiting to secure housing.
And Advocate wrote, “I was having a conversation with one of our shelter residents that has been with us for a while. She is a mother to two little ones that are with her here, and two older, teenage kids that are staying with relatives. This woman is incredible and worked to get to where she is today. She is about 90 days away from being a first-time home owner and she has done this all by herself. She overcame many obstacles since she began her stay with us. She has completed out-patient treatment, she has paid off $10,000 in old debit, all while saving a $5,000 down payment for her brand-new home, and has raised her FICA score to 650. I was telling her how incredibly happy and proud we were for her and she said, “There is no way, I would have ever been able to get this far, if it weren’t for Turning Pointe!”
Maintaining Face-to-Face Services
Since the pandemic started we have maintained all face to face services (and added some remote support for those who needed it). It has not been easy on staff adapting to what felt like weekly new directives and safety protocol. The emotional stress of working with those in trauma, while being concerned about exposure to COVID-19 has been real. Through the Mason County ESG-CV Grant we were able provide Hazard Pay for all staff until June 30, 2021. From the beginning we were deemed a Washington State essential service and we are all thankful that we have been able to continue to serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault without interruption throughout the pandemic.