Research Framework

The State Index scores each jurisdiction’s steps towards preventing and ending youth homelessness by tracking relevant metrics across the following categories: Right to Housing, Shifting Power in Housing, Maintaining Housing, Accessibility of Housing, Habitability of Housing, Autonomy, Income, Health, Education, Anti-Oppression, Priority Level, and Homelessness Services (coming soon). It also pulls in data around child welfare systems, juvenile and criminal legal systems, election laws and policies, revenue and progressive taxation, and immigration policy.

This year, we focused on transforming and updating the Index to re-center it on the experiences, needs, and policy demands of unhoused youth & young adults (YYA) as they navigate the webs of systems and laws that currently affect their lives. Because we have shifted the State Index’s focus from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions will have lower scores than years past. This is intended to encourage them. Jurisdictions should not be discouraged if they have a lower score, but instead be motivated by the opportunity to implement policies that will prevent and end youth homelessness.

Methodology

The first step in creating the new State Index was to take direction from YYA themselves. We organized seven focus groups with currently and formerly unhoused YYA. Each group focused on a different identity or interaction with an oppressive system. These focus groups included:

System-impacted youth & young adults

Inclusive of personal experiences with criminal, immigration, child welfare/protective services, and foster care systems and those who are impacted by these systems via a family member (for example, an incarcerated parent).

Black and brown youth & young adults

For youth & young adults of color who identify as black and/or brown.

Undocumented youth & young adults

For youth & young adults without legal immigration status.

Trans, nonbinary, & intersex youth & young adults

Inclusive of all non-cisgender identities and expressions; includes those who are intersex and/or have differences in sex development.

Youth & young adults with disabilities

Inclusive of all disabilities, including but not limited to physical and mental disabilities.

Parenting youth & young adults

For youth & young adults who are themselves parents; inclusive of those who do not have physical and/or legal custody of their children.

Youth who experience/have experienced domestic violence/abuse

Inclusive of all forms of domestic violence, including but not limited to physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual violence/abuse; inclusive of violence/abuse committed by any/all member(s) of the household, regardless of their familial relationship to the youth/young adult.

Twenty-six YYA participated in our focus groups. Regardless of which focus group they participated in, we emphasized the importance of intersectionality and asked YYA to show up as their full, authentic selves. Each focus group met via Zoom for 90 minutes and we compensated each participant $100. Each session started with the question, “What does housing liberation look and feel like to you?” We asked open-ended questions related to the theme of each focus group and took detailed notes on what participants experienced while navigating youth homelessness systems, including barriers and supports.

As a best practice for safety & confidentiality, we did not record the Zoom calls . We instead quoted or paraphrased as exactly as possible. Aleya and Erika then followed up to confirm each participant’s consent for attribution, receive edits and approval for the paraphrased quotes, and confirm consent for use of the quotes throughout the Index website and relaunch.

After finishing all of the focus groups, we went through our notes from each focus group and created metric categories based on common themes. Accessing and maintaining safe and habitable housing was a thread that ran through all the groups, as was experiencing discrimination in housing and services. The detrimental effect of homelessness and poverty on mental health, and the additional trauma of navigating non-profit and government systems were also common themes.

We used direct/paraphrased quotes from YYA to inform our understanding of what reform and transformation could look like in each category. From there, Katie and Jeremy began the process of drafting new metrics: taking each issue raised by the YYA and converting it into policies, legal rights, and legal protections. Once the draft metrics were written, Aleya and Yuderis reviewed and gave general feedback, noting additional perspectives, ideas, and metrics to include. After the metrics were complete, a team of pro bono attorneys from Baker Donelson researched the relevant statutes, regulations, and policies across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Following the first round of research, initial findings were reviewed for accuracy by Katie and Jeremy, and then scored.

 

We use the phrase “youth and young adults” because it includes both minors, who have to navigate systems differently (and often different systems) than legal adults, as well as young adults, who experience ‘youth’ homelessness despite crossing arbitrary legal ages of majority. We define “young adults” as those who are older than the age of majority and younger than 30.

We are also working with the National Indigenous Women Resource Center (NIWRC) to organize focus groups with Indigenous YYA. Many of our current metrics will be relevant to Indigenous YYA who are navigating state & territorial systems. But we want to 1. create State Index metrics after taking direction from Indigenous YYA and 2. work with NIWRC to create a Tribal Index for YYA who are navigating tribal systems.

Direct Quotes

Authentic Youth Engagement

This year’s Index is the first to include the insights and guidance of directly impacted youth and young adults. Their contributions in the creation of the improved Index cannot be overstated.

benjamin murray

Safety for me looks like the ability to defend myself. Severe mental health issues have normalized a lot of things that make me feel unsafe. Safety is the emotional and physical ability to defend against harm. Classes, services and support to help prepare me so I don’t feel weak or defenseless in certain situations.

Ejay Velez

I am scared. Current youth shelters are already homophobic. New ones being built near me are close to prisons and enclosed. They are not suitable for youth as they are used as a tactic to scare youth to go back home. To then see no protocols are put in place for LGBTQ youth. County commissioners are suggesting things that are not safe, suitable or accessible. Policies do not match what’s being done around me. Though they look good on paper, who are they truly helping? As youth are being pushed away, when all they truly need is to be supported.

K. Livingston

There should always be somewhere for everybody to go. Money is given through lottery systems etc there should be a way for everyone to be housed. Sometimes men are left out of housing assistance while women with children are favored. We all should be able to have the housing we need. It shouldn’t be something that you HOPE to get, it should be a given. Build more shelters, more housing. I am still learning what liberation looks like for me.

Damien Moses Brinson

Hope and healing looks like the ability to be in community and space with people who are like us. This requires money, housing, stability and time. A lot of these things intersect. I feel the most healed and centered when I’m around other black trans folx.

Theo O.

Whatever little bit you have been able to gather can be lost through bureaucracy. We need a collective effort to get service providers to understand our daily struggles. The system builds walls around us that make it more challenging to reach those in power; they want to develop programs for us but will get nowhere if they don’t ask us what we need. We are the experts on what we need, and no book can teach that. We must sit at the table and help you pioneer what the end of homelessness will look like.

E. Jasper McEwan

Housing liberation looks like dignifying architecture. Everything is the same shade of white. Things that are supposedly marked off as repaired are not. My wife can’t get a GED because HUD housing says you can’t be a student and live in HUD housing. We are stuck in small damaged apartments that we can’t decorate and make our own. Feels like housing is built to erase us once we are gone. True liberation would focus on the mental health aspect of what makes a house a home. The rental office is open for 28 hrs a week on weekdays during work hours. If I need something I have to take a day off of work and schedule ahead in order to meet with them.

Theory of Change

We developed a new scoring system based on A Way Home America’s New Deal to End Youth Homelessness (New Deal) roadmap for radically reimagining the country’s major systems serving YYA. Using the New Deal and NHLC Youth Team’s theory of change principles, we created a rubric that could account for policies that range from malicious to transformative. The principles and scoring definitions are as follows:

Principles

Youth homelessness is largely a housing problem and solving it will require the decommodification of most housing, along with the creation of new housing supply and care for our current supply.

Any effective advocacy efforts need to diminish rather than strengthen the systems we’re trying to overcome, such as classism, capitalism, racism, the commodification of housing and healthcare, public benefits systems, child welfare systems, and juvenile or criminal legal systems.

Laws that do not balance respect for and acknowledgement of a young person’s autonomy with their need for care are counterproductive in preventing youth homelessness.

Impoverishment and oppression are drivers of youth homelessness. Because these systems work to prop each other up, we must get rid of all of them in order to get rid of any one of them.

Scoring Definitions

Research Framework

1-

The jurisdiction has election and voting laws that are designed to make elections less partisan and encourage voting and civic engagement (-1 to +1 point)

    1. Political power is crucial in the fight to end youth homelessness and efforts to erode voting rights and the power of young people are increasing.
      1. Restrictive voting laws fall the hardest on black, brown, and indigenous people and disproportionately impact young adult voters. If young people and people from marginalized communities can’t vote, we won’t have representatives or policies that address their needs and priorities.
      2. Partisan gerrymandering, the practice of drawing districts to favor a particular political party, suppresses the votes of communities of color and results in elected leaders that do not reflect the will of the people they represent, which leads to young people feeling that their voices don’t matter.
2-

The jurisdiction has a progressive taxation structure where the rich pay a higher percentage of income in taxes than people with the lowest incomes (-1 to +1.5 points)

    1. In the absence of more federal investment, state & territorial revenue is going to be required to end and prevent youth and young adult homelessness.
      1. Jurisdictions where tax burdens fall more heavily on people with lower incomes also disproportionately affects young adults, who face higher poverty rates than any other age group.
      2. Allowing young people to struggle with homelessness while the rich don’t pay their fair share is not only morally wrong, but incredibly counterproductive – revenue shortages lead to divestment from our education, housing, public benefits, and other social systems, which causes even more youth homelessness.
3-

The jurisdiction criminalizes homelessness (0 to -1 points)

    1. Criminalizing people, and especially young people, for sleeping, sheltering, and conducting other life-sustaining activities in public is harmful and does not lead to less homelessness.
      1. Making sleeping outside a crime leads to more interaction with the police, which is dangerous and harmful for young people.
      2. Criminal records, fines and fees are a barrier to accessing housing, making it harder to end homelessness for youth and young adults.
4-

The jurisdiction does or does not engage in immigration enforcement not required by the federal government (0.5 to -1 points)

    1. Jurisdictions are not required to use their resources to help the federal government with immigration enforcement, but some voluntarily do so, which is extremely harmful to youth and young adults.
      1. Assisting immigration enforcement can cause youth homelessness, when family members are detained or deported.
      2. It can also cause homelessness by making young people without legal status afraid to seek out services.

We may add additional weighted scores in the future, especially related to the decommodification of housing. We’re also looking at ways to weight state scores with data about rates of youth homelessness in each state. For example, we have some data about rates of homelessness for young people under 18 and young people 18-24 from the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). However, this data is based on annual Point In Time counts, which is widely understood to be an undercount. Data about unhoused students in schools is also unreliable – see this reporting from the Center for Public Integrity and this study indicating that schools in many states are failing to fully identify students meeting the McKinney Vento definition of homelessness.

Authentic Youth Engagement and Collaboration

Whenever decisions are being made that impact youth and young adults (YYA), it’s important YYA are at the table and have equitable decision-making responsibilities. YYA should be included and contribute to all local and national dialogues about ending youth homelessness, as YYA have the knowledge, skills, vision, and personal understanding of systems and services that can improve youth services and end youth homeless entirely.

“If those who are most impacted are not making the decisions, the impact is going to be inequitable, ineffective, and potentially harmful. We then run the risk of replicating the systems of power that we want to challenge to end homelessness.”

It’s important to trust the input, answers, and suggestions of YYA when collaborating. Avoid tokenizing or probing YYA for examples from their lived experiences, unless they want to share them. Tokenization can make YYA feel like they are being used as props or representatives, rather than being valued for their individual experiences and perspectives. Probing YYA can also be intrusive and uncomfortable, and it can force folx to justify their experiences or prove they are “authentic” enough to be heard.

Here are some specific things that you can do to create a collaborative, safe and respectful space for YYA:

  1. Provide advocacy training and resources to YYA before any meetings or discussions to help folx feel comfortable and prepared entering spaces, particularly with policymakers and legislators.
  2. Be transparent about the full scope of the project you are asking YYA to collaborate on, including detailed information about the work being done, processes, vision and goals, and defining a young person’s role as a participant or collaborator. This gives YYA an opportunity to gauge their own interest, capacity, and availability before agreeing to participate.
  3. Provide various channels for young adult leaders to offer their input and feedback. Options could include organizing discussion groups and listening sessions, distributing printed materials to gather written responses, and collaborating on a shared drive or online document.
  4. Make sure everyone is able to use the technology and platforms that will be used within the organization to ensure equitable access and participation.
  5. Think about the language you use and whether or not it is accessible to the YYA that you are collaborating with. It may be helpful to provide a list of common housing systems terminology and practices to help bring knowledge equity to the table.
  6. Address adultism and power dynamics “Youth should lead the work and its management to the fullest extent possible. This will help with workflow and allow participants to maximize their potential without micromanaging or gatekeeping.”
  7. Listen without judgment. Make sure that you are really listening to what YYA have to say without interrupting or trying to change the subject.
  8. Give clear examples of how YYA input will be influential in the final decision or product.
  9. Receive consent for attribution if including photos/video from event, names of participants, or using direct/paraphrased quotes shared during time of collaboration.
  10. Compensate YYA for their time and expertise. YYA should be paid at the same rate you would pay any consultant for the same work and in the same way (via a payment app, direct deposit, or other form of cash and NOT via a store gift card, unless requested).

Direct quotes from YYA in focus groups

The money and resources that are being provided have too many barriers. Lack of documentation or other things necessary to qualify for support is a huge barrier. You have to be on the verge of homelessness or losing services in order to qualify for assistance. Things should be fixed BEFORE it gets to the point of almost losing housing or utilities.

Joel Swazo

Housing is a human right not a privilege. No one should choose who deserves it and who doesn’t. As long as there is an abandoned building on every corner there should be no homelessness. Governments should use eminent domain to bring communities together and house people!

K. Livingston

“Accountability is required across many spectrums. People who cause harm within Black and brown communities are often unpunished. But this does not hold true for Black and brown people who may commit even small crimes, or none at all. We always having a guard up and be in defense.”

K. Livingston

When you try to access services, such as trying to just find a bed and shower, first you call 211 and tell them too many details, then centers and tell them all of your trauma, it’s too much. It’s a full time job. It’s retraumatizing to explain why you deserve a roof over your head. A case worker should have a simple portal that doesn’t retraumatize people. Service providers should have to explain themselves and allow clients to choose from services that fit them. Not the other way around.

K. Livingston

Liberation is ensuring that every person, regardless of who they are or how much income they have, has a home. Housing is a human right and basic need. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – basic needs first! Everyone has access to a home!

Jacqueline Robles

Housing liberation looks like safety and autonomy in housing choices. Over policing in these spaces removes privacy and autonomy. Being able to access affordable housing, which looks different for everyone – should be QUALITY – safety, physically AND environmentally. Housing should not shorten your lifespan. The impact on mental health in spaces that lack autonomy and privacy is devastating. Constantly looking for notices, constantly anxious about conditions of housing and maintenance checks. Causes stress and anxiety with my son as well. Housing should preserve dignity and respect. ACCESS TO SCHOOLS! Housing isn’t just about what is cheap or affordable but what do the educational prospects look like? Can I safely expand my family? MULTIGENERATIONAL stresses are passed down to children within the home. Constantly on the defense. Addressing the intersectional barriers that keep people from accessing housing like language barriers, racism, poverty etc.”

Tiffany S. Haynes

Affordable housing places that receive grants or govt money, that money should be put aside for repairs and maintenance. That money is not used properly. Current systems are just not adequate and there are always loopholes that can be exploited.

Kemi Adebisi-Oke

When you try to access services, such as trying to just find a bed and shower, first you call 211 and tell them too many details, then centers and tell them all of your trauma, it’s too much. It’s a full time job. It’s retraumatizing to explain why you deserve a roof over your head. A case worker should have a simple portal that doesn’t retraumatize people. Service providers should have to explain themselves and allow clients to choose from services that fit them. Not the other way around.

K. Livingston

“Start at the root of the problem, the GOVERNMENT – they pretend to try but they are not effective. Voucher systems are insufficient. The government is wasteful on wars and military. Landlords should be educated about what it means to offer and maintain housing. Landlords have too much power – accountability is lacking for those charged with housing low income people. Affordable housing isn’t affordable housing. The rent is essentially market rate at this point. Justice would be the government investing in their citizens!!”

Legacy Reign Ariel

Affordable housing places that receive grants or govt money, that money should be put aside for repairs and maintenance. That money is not used properly. Current systems are just not adequate and there are always loopholes that can be exploited.

Kemi Adebisi-Oke

Daycare is expensive and some “affordable” daycares might not cover mothers who want to go to school

Kemi Adebisi-Oke

I have attended a lot of webinars and heard stories of others that have obtained higher education degrees without debt. This is not the case for so many people. Getting loans sets people back after they get their degrees. I had a counselor that helped me avoid loans throughout my education. We need to do things like offer gift cards to buy food in school libraries – you can’t succeed when you are hungry. Students need basic needs met so they can realize their full potential. Students without parental support are often driven to loans for education which puts them in debt.

Jennifer Myers (she/her)

Black women in America have additional stereotypes applied to us. When I apply for things my name signals whiteness but then my voice and physical appearance result in different treatment. This is straight up systemic racism. It discourages people from bringing their full self to situations due to systemic biases about Black people. People in services that don’t have lived experience often treat those seeking services poorly because they don’t understand our issues. I have the goal of going to an all Black college like Howard someday, where I will feel more empowered and accepted.

Jennifer Myers (she/her)

We need to normalize family therapy. Living in poverty is criminalized and tools are not offered to help family units stay together. Providers are often hamstrung by rules and regulations (took by the book). Families should have some sort of coach/teacher/community support to help through issues. Someone with similar experiences to get families through hard times. Quite often the crimes that are committed are crimes of poverty and they impact the entire family unit. We need to stop solving problems through separation! It creates anxiety and insecurity in young people which can lead to spiraling issues and increased exposure to criminal justice systems. We need job training, connections to mental health services, connections to school/degree programs. People feel pushed into creating the circumstances to qualify for help – like having a baby because mothers have more access to certain systems and services. The current systems are set up for people to fail.

Jennifer Myers (she/her)

I come from a nontraditional family – lived with my grandmother because I had an incarcerated parent and my mother passed away. A custody battle ensued – a lot of loved ones were not fit to take me on. What I needed most was a clean space (uncluttered), a place to eat meals, transportation to and from school and activities. I did not have places to study and I have always been a high achieving student without the physical and mental space to fully feel safe and supported. In college there was a lack of understanding and support for dealing with a roommate with mental health issues. All of these things affected my feelings of safety.

Makayla Dawkins

We had to take our pride flag off the porch because people would sit in our parking lot in their cars and watch our house. Faith based shelters are discriminatory against trans communities, like not being able to use showers that match their gender identity etc. We’re homeless and starving and sick and being shot in this country but those in power would rather talk about minorities or no fault divorce. The world keeps telling us that there is no room for people like us here, and sometimes people listen.

E. Jasper McEwan

Housing liberation looks like dignifying architecture. Everything is the same shade of white. Things that are supposedly marked off as repaired are not. My wife can’t get a GED because HUD housing says you can’t be a student and live in HUD housing. We are stuck in small damaged apartments that we can’t decorate and make our own. Feels like housing is built to erase us once we are gone. True liberation would focus on the mental health aspect of what makes a house a home. The rental office is open for 28 hrs a week on weekdays during work hours. If I need something I have to take a day off of work and schedule ahead in order to meet with them.

E. Jasper McEwan

I work with the city’s homeless coalition – supposed to come together to talk about food and housing. Anti discrimination came up – one member was anti trans and now the work is distracted from the real issues to discuss if this person is allowed to treat homeless trans kids poorly. Society is built around acting on immediate dangers so we don’t have time to focus on bigger systemic pictures. Built so we can never stand next to each other and rise up against those to blame for our strife. Survival prevents us from elevating ourselves.

E. Jasper McEwan

I’m a trans person who fears what bathroom to walk into, the only bright side is being blind makes people second guess if I just didn’t see it. I fear losing my home, my rights and knowing others who lost everything over night. I don’t know what safety looks like, all I know is to keep positive energy. To never let anyone hold you down. I might be suffering, but I will be there, upbeat and somehow pushing for everyone to feel better. If they wanna cry, let’s cry, scream, throw a pillow or go to a smash room. Safety isn’t known to me, but self care and creating a positive energy to help heal is.

Ejay Velez

I am scared. Current youth shelters are already homophobic. New ones being built near me are close to prisons and enclosed. They are not suitable for youth as they are used as a tactic to scare youth to go back home. To then see no protocols are put in place for LGBTQ youth. County commissioners are suggesting things that are not safe, suitable or accessible. Policies do not match what’s being done around me. Though they look good on paper, who are they truly helping? As youth are being pushed away, when all they truly need is to be supported.

Ejay Velez

There is rampant discrimination in housing options against those with disabilities. Application processes are too long to qualify for housing and very often people are considered too disabled to live in available housing and need 1 on 1 care. You can be kicked out of your housing for being a student. Studio apartments are like shoeboxes – they are not accessible to those in wheelchairs or those who are older.

Ejay Velez

Structures are often fatphobic. My partner is not able to use the bathtub because it is not built to accommodate their height and weight. The housing offered to those struggling often feels like living in a shoebox. When I started working from home, housing office hours were unreasonable and apparently optional, making it difficult to get help when I needed it.

Damien Moses Brinson

I don’t call the cops for anything. They do not have the best interests in mind of marginalized people. Period.

Damien Moses Brinson

On the mental health aspect, healing looks different for everyone. Personal therapy DBT therapy, peer support, this might work for some people but not everyone. We need medical providers who don’t judge but consistently support us because relapses happen. Making therapy accessible. Providers need to be educated on youth issues so they are better equipped to help with our specific needs. We need providers who look like us, in these spaces. Instead of having a white man shame me for not being trans enough, my blind self rather be supported by someone who knows we come in all shapes and sizes. Love is love, and living my life as I see fit, is how I wish we all can live. How we see fit. However, that may take forever.one day at a time!

Ejay Velez

Certain crimes are classified differently (i.e.,quality of life crimes, sex…) and if you confess to those kinds of crimes you can be considered inadmissible. Poor immigrants are prone to those crimes because they are barred to receiving benefits and are often brought here through trafficking. If you confess to abusing substances you cannot be granted citizenship therefore there is ableist eugenics trend in immigration system, hindering harm reduction for noncitizens, they are not worthy to become citizens if they have a substance use problem.

doobneek

There is a lack of training and understanding of the basics of the immigration system and services end up not being helpful or effective. There does not seem to be a willingness to learn from service providers.

doobneek

Hope and healing looks like the ability to be in community and space with people who are like us. This requires money, housing, stability and time. A lot of these things intersect. I feel the most healed and centered when I’m around other black trans folx.

Damien Moses Brinson

There is a lot of just shuffling people around between agencies to keep them busy and to keep it out of one’s hands. Nobody wants to be the one responsible in a legal sense so they pass you around

Kamiron K

I think it’s important that there is some form of taking down the categorized housing structure as well. Means by categorized: mental health issues, disabled, drug abuse disorders, STOP PUTTING PEOPLE IN BOXES. Separating people based on specific issues rather than just structuring housing around the community. Wait lists are too long – had to wait 3-5 years

Kamiron K

The government does not care for anyone they are not obligated to care for – especially not those without citizenship. People are living without the ability to travel, work, or receive benefits and are in constant fear of deportation.

doobneek

Many providers pride themselves on “encouraging self-sufficiency” Why is self-sufficiency the end goal? People need help!

Rachel Litchman

For me, it is about not putting on people’s shoulders whether they will lose their housing or not. We will sometimes fail, and it should be fine without costing us housing. Don’t take the humanity of failure away from people. Housing liberation is existing together, loving people unconditionally and supporting them unconditionally.

Theo O.

When a provider in our community was looking for a space for a shelter, suggestions to add a ramp were denied because it costs money and time and since it’s a historical building there is no requirement.

Rachel Litchman

Whatever little bit you have been able to gather can be lost through bureaucracy. We need a collective effort to get service providers to understand our daily struggles. The system builds walls around us that make it more challenging to reach those in power; they want to develop programs for us but will get nowhere if they don’t ask us what we need. We are the experts on what we need, and no book can teach that. We must sit at the table and help you pioneer what the end of homelessness will look like.

Theo O.

As an asylum seeker, I lost most of my documentation. Accessing resources was a nightmare. You need documentation to qualify—doctor’s notes, medical history, etc. They made it impossible for me to get help, and I battled my illnesses alone. But the system also fails those who were born here. I had a friend whose shelter refused to buy him an orthopedic bed for his chronic back pain. This pain kept him from walking at times; he didn’t have an official diagnosis, so the shelter didn’t seem necessary to provide him with a bed that accommodated him, even though the doctor had written a note stating that the diagnosis was unknown and would remain unidentified as they didn’t know what was happening to him. He had to sleep on the floor till he exited the program. If service providers are not there to practice radical love to those needing help, you just become another number. And we can see that we are that to you, so why should we trust anyone in our “team” to help us escape homelessness?

Theo O.

It makes it harder to access housing, and you have to figure out medication, transportation, fresh food, etc. Shelters without ramps can’t serve people adequately. Housing without safe sensory rooms is clearly about erasure and lack of representation. It causes even more breakdowns in the body and trauma. Service providers need more training and help to support those with visible and hidden disabilities. Ensuring that we are provided with rest and healing practices that are decolonized and decentralized to fit a demand.

Theo O.

There should always be somewhere for everybody to go. Money is given through lottery systems etc there should be a way for everyone to be housed. Sometimes men are left out of housing assistance while women with children are favored. We all should be able to have the housing we need. It shouldn’t be something that you HOPE to get, it should be a given. Build more shelters, more housing. I am still learning what liberation looks like for me.

K. Livingston

Requiring a police report can keep people away from seeking services. Sometimes victims are not ready or willing to turn to police so these requirements can leave people outside longer. Also helping people deal with the shame of being in a dv situation. REMOVE BARRIERS!!

CiCi Williams

Everybody has somewhere to go and people don’t have to stay in unsafe situations in order to have a roof over their heads. Leaving an unsafe situation shouldn’t make you homeless. Systems are TOO SLOW. In 2021 I was matched to a voucher, yet I am still in a shelter. I did everything right but the system is too slow. Affordability is also a part of liberation – people shouldn’t need 3 jobs and 4 side hustles to afford housing. Our systems are inefficient.

CiCi Williams

I found it hard to find adequate DV housing identifying and passing as male.There needs to be far more awareness, and advertisements, for these programs. There are many other causes that are brought to the public eye in that way.

benjamin murray

As long as protection and support is offered to these victims, I believe the mental health treatment for the PTSD that is caused from those who experience DV, will feel protected and secure enough should confidentiality be jeopardized. I also think there should be better protection in place for people who are escaping their abusers.

benjamin murray

Safety for me looks like the ability to defend myself. Severe mental health issues have normalized a lot of things that make me feel unsafe. Safety is the emotional and physical ability to defend against harm. Classes, services and support to help prepare me so I don’t feel weak or defenseless in certain situations.

benjamin murray

I think more emphasis should be placed on the term Domestic, I think a lot of people fail to understand that it doesn’t exclusively apply to romantic relationships. I also think in a suspected DV case both parties should be brought into psychiatric evaluation and, again, more attention brought to how mental illness is responsible for violence.

benjamin murray