AVDA Announces New Economic Justice Project

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Staff report
Delray Beach-based Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Inc. (AVDA) is asking local realtors to help identify affordable rentals and educate landlords on the financial impact domestic violence has on survivors and their credit, often preventing them from accessing independent housing.
The initiative is part of a recently launched Economic Justice Project.
“We work to find ways for people forced to remain in an abusive relationship due to financial dependence to find a way out,” AVDA’s Economic Empowerment Advocate Andrea Sanchez said. “This newly established program will allow us to better assist people in this situation. Economic abuse is just another tool that abusers use to manipulate their victims.”
Previously, Sanchez served as the shelter’s Victim Advocate. Now, she will head up the new project. AVDA is one of 42 certified domestic violence centers in the state of Florida. It began serving clients in 1986. AVDA has a new state-of-the-art emergency shelter, an outreach program and a transitional house that helps focus on economic self-sufficiency with a goal of obtaining permanent housing.
AVDA’s mission is to promote violence-free relationships and social change by offering alternative choices to end violence and domestic abuse. AVDA annually provides services to over 10,000 individuals from Palm Beach County and surrounding areas.
Through the new program, AVDA will provide financial literacy classes to victims of domestic abuse.
Participants will increase their understanding of how to efficiently manage their finances. The program will also provide Financial Empowerment Workshops using part of Allstate’s “Moving Ahead Through Financial Management” curriculum. The main objective is for the participants to acquire both the confidence needed to remain independent, as well as to develop the ability to successfully identify resources within their communities, which will help them secure housing and employment.
AVDA will also be collaborating with community agencies in order to better serve survivors. Affordable housing remains difficult for survivors to access. AVDA is currently seeking business attire donations for the Employment Workshops.
To better understand how economic abuse is a barrier to escaping domestic violence, here are a few statistics:
Between 94-99 percent of domestic violence survivors also experienced economic abuse
Nearly 8 million days of paid work each year is lost due to domestic violence issues-the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs
57 percent of cities cite domestic violence against women and children as the top cause of homelessness
Approximately 6 out of 10 Americans strongly agree that the lack of money and a steady income is often a challenge faced by a survivor of domestic violence when leaving his/her abuser
Sanchez hopes to hear from area realtors and landlords, so that she can share additional information and work with them to identify affordable rentals that will rent to people who have been in domestic violence situations and had their finances compromised.
To learn more about the Economic Justice Project, call Andrea Sanchez at 561-265-3797 x 119, email asanchez@avda-fl.com or visit www.avdaonline.org