A safe space is essential for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence. BrightHouse offers a shelter to persons who feel they’re in danger in their own homes, as a step in providing a path to protection for victims.
How long can I stay?
Length of stay is determined by the specific needs of the individual. Those needing to move will stay in shelter longer than those with a residence to return to. If it is a matter of changing the locks on the house/rental unit and filing a Protection From Abuse order to have the abuser removed, the length of stay may be short. If housing needs to be located and applications for reduced rent filed, it will take longer. The average length of stay is 2-4 weeks. Overnight stays can be arranged as well.
The major factor in determining the length of stay is the safety of the victim. Safety planning is accounted for. Once safety issues have been addressed and/or eliminated, plans for exiting the shelter are made.
How many times can I stay at the shelter?
As many as necessary. Persons escape abusive situations on average 7-8 times before they permanently leave. It is part of the dynamics of an abusive relationship. Hopefully, each stay provides the person with more tools and options so that eventually a complete break of the abusive relationship occurs.
However, if a person discloses the location of the shelter to anyone and is asked to leave, she will not be readmitted under any circumstances. Putting other residents of the shelter at risk is not tolerated. Threatening staff/other residents and any display of violence will also lead to immediate exit of the shelter and no future admissions.
How many people live at the shelter?
The shelter can house 24 women and children. On average 3-4 families are in the shelter at one time. Single women have a room to themselves. Families usually share two rooms. We do have resources to shelter men, in an outside location, coming from an abusive relationship.
How many people work at the shelter?
One shelter manager and five shelter relief staff are responsible for shelter coverage at all times.
How safe is the shelter?
The door to the shelter remains locked at all times. An alarm system is in place and alerts law enforcement if windows/doors are opened once the alarm is activated. The location of the shelter is confidential and no one other than staff or residents can enter the shelter unless prior approval/notification is received by the Executive Director. 100% of residents upon exit report feeling “safe or very safe” while at the shelter.
What is the cost of staying at the shelter?
This service is free.
Am I free to come and go as I please at the shelter?
This issue is addressed on an individual basis. A risk assessment is done on admission to the shelter. Those of higher risk and more safety issues are discouraged from leaving the shelter unescorted. Overnight and weekend passes are available with prior approval from your victim advocate.
Is there a curfew?
Residents are to be in the shelter by 10 p.m. Once the alarm is set, no one can enter or leave the shelter unless an emergency exists or prior approval from your victim advocate.