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How This State Bill Could Help Domestic Violence Survivors With Homelessness

A figure of a woman bounces off a large safety net.
(Al Kamalizad
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Surviving domestic violence is the most common reason women become unhoused in Los Angeles County. A new state bill, SB 914, could mandate strategies to aid people losing their homes because of abuse.

Introduced by State Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), the bill would require any city, county, or continuum of care receiving state funds for homelessness services to include strategies specifically for unaccompanied women and other survivors.

“Domestic violence is one of the leading drivers of homelessness for women, and unaccompanied women experiencing homelessness wait on average more than 10 years to access stable housing, a rate twice that of men,” Rubio said in a statement.

Elizabeth Eastlund is the executive director of Rainbow Services, which is co-sponsoring the bill. The historic lack of resources for survivors of intimate partner violence within homeless services was apparent to her as she remembered reading through hundreds of pages of L.A. County’s Homeless Initiative in 2017.

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“And there was no mention of an initiative or strategy for women or survivors who make up a significant portion of the homeless population,” Eastlund said.

A coalition of providers has been trying to change that in L.A., but Eastlund says SB 914 would expand that effort statewide.

“Often the programs that are set up don't necessarily take into consideration the unique needs of survivors,” she said.

The bill would strengthen data collection around survivors experiencing homelessness. That lack of data is a big obstacle in getting funding in the first place.

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