More February 24, 2009

Day One

Greetings from the Windermere Foundation,

Last week I received a call from a mother who was looking for help with her rent. She explained to me that if she lost her apartment she would be homeless and would never be able to afford the move-in expenses IF and when she found another apartment. As you can imagine, she was very concerned not only for her sake but for the sake of her two children. She explained that she had called over a dozen social service agencies only to hear, “Sorry, we can’t help you, we are out of funds.” With each social service agency suggesting she call another, her fear began to deepen. Luckily, the Windermere Foundation was able to provide financial assistance, via the children’s school counselor, and the family was able to remain in their apartment.

I’ve often thought wouldn’t it be great if the social service agencies could be a bit more collaborative in their efforts – having some sort of network that was easy to access with information about the availability of funds. And while I know there are social service coalitions, it still can require several calls. And…how terrible to have to “plead your case” a dozen times! Who wants to re-hash an already traumatic situation over and over again?

I was relieved to learn that the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Division of the City of Seattle Human Services Dept. has initiated a program to address this very issue. The program is called Day One and is designed to reduce the number of calls a victim must make in order to find shelter from abuse. The program is a collaboration of 11 agencies in Washington that use a new software program to connect individuals who have been affected by domestic violence to various services, such as shelters, transitional housing and hotel/motel voucher programs, using real-time information about service requirements and availability.

Hopefully, victims will now only need to make one call in order to find a safe place for themselves and their children.

Christine Wood
Windermere Foundation