Paulina endured her husband’s ongoing emotional and financial abuse throughout their 11-year marriage. After the birth of their last child, the abuse escalated to physical violence. A concerned friend shared a Facebook post with SafeHouse Denver’s Crisis & Information Line number and encouraged Paulina to call. Discussing her situation with a safe person, someone who did not criticize or judge her past choices, helped Paulina see the danger her husband posed to her and their children, and gave her the courage to seek help to change her life. The first step was meeting with an Advocate at SafeHouse Denver’s Counseling & Advocacy Center to plan a safe exit.
Some survivors had just relocated from SafeHouse Denver’s Emergency Shelter to its Extended Stay Program (ESP), so the Advocates at Shelter were able to quickly turn around rooms and offer safe space to Paulina and her five children. When her husband stopped helping financially with the children, Paulina was faced with supporting them on her own. With the guidance of her Advocate, she worked diligently to identify and access community resources that met the needs of her family. She attended job fairs and groups offered through organizations like the Rose Andom Center, Denver Human Services, Bayaud Enterprises, and the Women’s Workforce Center to gain the job skills needed to provide a stable income as her family’s sole provider.
Another goal of Paulina’s was to help her children heal from the trauma of living in a home where they had witnessed domestic violence. Through the support of the Denver Children’s Advocacy Center, she and her children were able to process what they had experienced in a healthy way and move forward.
Once Paulina found employment and her children were healing, she felt ready to address her housing goals. Not yet financially ready to secure her own apartment, Paulina applied for Safehouse Denver’s Extended Stay Program. Knowing that accessing transitional housing could be a challenging and lengthy process, Paulina applied to other housing providers as backup options. Several weeks passed, then finally the wait was over—Paulina’s application to ESP was approved. Her family would move into their own apartment the next week!
While at ESP, Paulina worked with her Case Manager to continue identifying community resources that would help her achieve her goals, including long-term housing. Paulina attended many group sessions at ESP. Topics included: coping skills; setting boundaries; budgeting; and housing basics, which covers tenant rights, understanding a lease, and how to prepare for a housing interview, intake and walk-through. Through these experiences, Paulina felt her self-confidence grow.
As housing and all services are provided completely free of charge to ESP residents, Paulina was able to focus on the financial aspects of transitioning to her own home. Through community resources like The Gathering Place, Denver Rescue Mission, Denver Housing Authority and the Department of Human Services, Paulina and her children were ultimately able to move into a rental unit, where they continue to work on building the abuse-free lives that they deserve.
SafeHouse Denver supported Paulina on every step of her journey – from her phone call to the Crisis Line, to her visit with an Advocate at the Counseling & Advocacy Center, to safe space at the Emergency Shelter, to stable short-term housing at ESP. Through providing our full continuum of care, SafeHouse Denver helped this motivated survivor achieve a better life for herself and her family.