SPAN Program Profile: Emergency Shelter

Providing safe, confidential emergency shelter to domestic violence survivors and their children is at the core of SPAN’s services to the community.  Safe shelter is proven to stop the immediate cycle of violence and help to keep people safe.  SPAN’s Emergency Shelter is also home to our 24-hour information/hotline.  In addition to all basic needs, residents receive case management, counseling, healthcare services, legal advocacy and information to help them establish a life safe from violence. Staff and volunteers are available 24 hours a day to support callers to the Crisis & Information Hotline, and to conduct intakes for victims needing immediate shelter. The shelter facility, built for security and ADA accessibility in 2008, has a capacity for 27 people and residents may stay up to 45 days. SPAN’s shelter is available to all survivor regardless of their gender identity or expression.

While people stay at SPAN’s Shelter advocates meet individually with adult residents to assess risks and strengths, determine individual and family needs, develop safety plans, identify networks of support, and provide referrals to community resources. Shelter Advocates/Counselors provide education about the dynamics of interpersonal violence and offer trauma-informed counseling and support services for survivors. Shelter groups give survivors opportunities to share their story, alleviate isolation, and receive support from others who have had similar experiences. Healthcare services are provided in the Shelter’s health clinic, with community health center staff offering OB/GYN, STD/STI testing, immunization, and other health related services. A Safe Pet Program is available for residents with animals. The Shelter also supports residents in achieving long-term self-sufficiency by assisting with applications for public benefits, health insurance coverage, and post-shelter affordable housing. Shelter skill-building groups address topics ranging from financial literacy to nutrition and wellness.

In addition to offering refuge for adult survivors, the SPAN Shelter is designed to support, educate and empower children and youth exposed to domestic violence. A separate trauma assessment is done for each child as they enter shelter. The Shelter Children/Youth Counselor works with children individually, as a group with their siblings or with their non-offending parent. The Children/Youth Counselor provides case management, counseling and age-appropriate education on topics such as feelings, conflict resolution, and keeping safe. Recognizing the specific needs of families, staff provide parenting support including guidance in addressing children’s trauma symptoms, activities to strengthen the parent-child relationship and develop family safety plans, and referrals to appropriate resources.

In all, SPAN’s Emergency Shelter will provide safe haven for an average of 285 adults and 110 children each year.

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