To the Editor
It might come as a surprise to many that, although ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support) temporarily houses over 100 homeless victims of domestic violence through our housing program each year, a great many more receive services from our outreach programs. Individuals and families fleeing violence are often doubled up with family and friends. Others move from one shelter to another, or are forced to live in places not meant as living spaces, like cars, tents or garages.
A multi-faceted approach works best for victims in need, and short-term emergency shelter isn’t the only solution. Independent living provides a private space for self-care during trying times, as well as a safe place for victims’ children to call home. Transforming victims into survivors entails helping them find living wage jobs, affordable housing, financial assistance and access to other community resources.
United Way of Story County supports ACCESS by funding our work with victims in these areas — counseling, legal advocacy, housing and employment assistance and other supportive resources. ACCESS is much more than a shelter, and United Way is much more than a funder. We thank the United Way for its commitment to help victims become survivors, and for its help in finding housing solutions for those we serve.