Thursday, March 30, 2023

Demand for Services Skyrockets During COVID Crisis, Samaritan House Asks For Community Support

For over 35 years, Samaritan House has provided emergency and permanent housing, support services and community outreach to victims of violence and homeless families in the Hampton Roads region. As a result of the current COVID-19 crisis, their services are stretched to the limit, and they are asking for emergency community assistance.

Since the stay at home order was put into effect, Samaritan House has seen a 30% increase in demand for all services from families contacting their hotline, for people needing emergency shelter and accompaniment for police and courts. Samaritan House operates 14 emergency shelters for victims of violence and 10 units for homeless families in Hampton Roads, all of which are at capacity. Rather than leave those families turning to Samaritan House for safe shelter and comprehensive services out in the street or with their abuser, Samaritan House is placing them in a hotel for their safety and protection. 

Samaritan House is sensitive to the fact that oppressed groups often encounter marginalization and face barriers to receiving support services. Samaritan House strives to increase access and inclusivity, especially for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged or oppressed offering services free from discrimination based on ethnicity, language, race, age, ability, sexual orientation, family status, income, immigrant or refugee status, nationality, place of birth, or political or religious affiliations. 

Statistics prove that LGBTQ people are disproportionally affected by intimate partner violence (IPV). According to Samaritan House, 26% of gay men and 27% of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. 44% of lesbian women and 61% of bisexual women reported the same.  As a result, Samaritan House created a dedicated LGBTQ intimate partner violence program.

“The reality of this situation is some of our friends and neighbors are now likely isolated with their abuser,” said Robin Gauthier, Executive Director. “As measures to keep the virus from spreading become more stringent, and victims are forced to stay in a home where violence is prevalent, demand for our services has increased. Since last week, we have placed ten new families in shelter.”

“We have a current need to house nine families for up to six weeks at a cost of $450 per week per family” said Gauthier. “While our goal is $25,000, a donation of any size will go a long way in helping us continue to provide safe and secure housing.”

All donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law and include a new above-the-line deduction (that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of up to $300.

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