March 24, 2020

Dear Friends of Our House, Inc., 
 
As we navigate during this difficult time, we want to share that our staff began working, as of today, remotely to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Although we are not in our office right now, we are still fully functioning and continuing to support victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, their families, and their communities. 
 
Comments made to the US government legislative on March 18, 2020:

"As the nation is urged to stay home to prevent the spread of this disease, we are starkly
reminded that “home” is typically an unsafe place for survivors and their children. When
home is dangerous, the safety net of housing, economic, legal, and healthcare, including
mental health, supports should be there to protect survivors from further harm. Yet,
shelters and victim service organizations are now grappling with the unprecedented
challenge of communally housing and providing services for survivors just as the public
health crisis requires distance and separation. Programs are moving to provide services
virtually, but most program providers are not equipped to provide supports in this
manner and have concerns about survivor confidentiality needs. Additionally, those
survivors who have been able to access safe housing face increased risks of being unable
to maintain that housing due to increased economic instability resulting from the
pandemic. Survivors’ current extreme housing instability and increased economic
insecurity is placing overwhelming demands on service providers. Moreover, courts are
closing and law enforcement are responding to “urgent matters only.” Survivors with
custody and other critical family court matters are left without any venue to seek the
court’s assistance. Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and
stalking are disproportionately impacted by this crisis, and the federal government’s
response must be swift and specific to meet their needs.

Marginalized or higher need survivors face additional threats and barriers to safety.
Immigrant survivors face increased fear of exploitation, deportation, court delays,
economic and housing instability, and lack of access to medical care and basic needs.
Native women already experience disproportionately high rates of violence. Complex
legal frameworks and the various intersections that Native survivors of violence must
confront will be further exacerbated by this crisis. Survivors of color face additional
threats and barriers due to historical and ongoing systemic oppression, which are also
exacerbated by this crisis. Homophobia and transphobia keep LGBTQ survivors in the
shadows and make it difficult for them to access safety and justice. Survivors who are
older and survivors with disabilities are likewise uniquely vulnerable to domestic and
sexual violence and face additional barriers to accessing services and safety, which is
being exacerbated by further isolation. The impact of these barriers is being
compounded by the fact that older adults and adults with certain health conditions are
at the greatest risk of severe negative health outcomes if they contract COVID-19. "

While these times are trying, it is important to us that critical services and access points remain open. Our helpline is operating 24/7. We will be providing web chats, phone conversations and hope, 662-332-LOVE (5683). Currently, shelter is very limited due to the fear of COVID-19, but with community support we are doing the best that we can. All group services will be provided by video conferencing or conference calling.
 
We will keep you posted if anything changes, but in the meantime, please stay safe and be healthy!
 
For the latest information on to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please visit  cdc.gov. 
 

Wishing everyone the best,

Dr. Patricia Ann Davenport,
Executive Director
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Be Safe!

Sincerely,
Dr. Patricia Ann Davenport
Executive Director

662-334-6873 Office Line
662-332-5683 Helpline
1-833-279-5683 (Helpline)
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