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Housing and Homelessness

How A New Law May Improve Help For Women And Others Pushed Into Homelessness By Domestic Violence

An illustration depicts a person falling into a net
(Illustration by Alborz Kamalizad)
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A law signed by Governor Newsom requires homeless services providers to create strategies to support both women and survivors of intimate partner violence who are unhoused.

Why now: This marks a big step towards better understanding the needs of people pushed out of housing because of domestic violence — a major factor for women in particular. The law,SB914, will now require data collection for these populations, which was not happening consistently across the state.

L.A. County, for example, started keeping track of unhoused single women and domestic abuse survivors in just the last couple of years. According to this year’s homelessness count, 60% of the more than 14,000 unaccompanied women surveyed had experienced intimate partner violence.

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What's next: Amy Turk, CEO of the Downtown Women’s Center, which backed the bill, says once that data is collected it can be combined "with what women are saying and what survivors are saying they need.”

Why it matters: Turk and other advocates say survivors of gender-based violence, in particular women experiencing homelessness, often report that flexible assistance can quickly solve their housing crisis. “Someone might need funding for a car repair so that they can keep their job," Turks said.

How that works: That model, dubbed “housing first,” has been successful among veterans, youth, and families experiencing homelessness.

Go deeper: Our series "Pushed Out"explored why domestic or intimate partner violence is the biggest reason women experience homelessness in L.A. County.