Internet Safety

WAA Preserves and Expands a Critical Housing Resource for Survivors of Domestic Violence

Media Contact

Katie Young-Wildes
Development Director, Women Against Abuse
O: 215-386-1280 x116-or-C: 267-240-4960
kywildes@womenagainstabuse.org

Philadelphia, PA (July 29, 2013) — Women Against Abuse, Inc. is set to complete a $3 million renovation and expansion project for its transitional housing program, Sojourner House, preserving this key community resource and increasing housing capacity for women and children who have fled life-threatening violence in the home.

Sojourner House — the region’s first transitional housing program dedicated to the needs of survivors of domestic violence and their children — was at risk of shutting down due to age-related structural damage. The project, which will finish in August, includes dramatic repair of building interiors and exteriors to preserve the facility, as well as the construction of a new apartment building for residents. Women Against Abuse anticipates that Sojourner House’s fifteen apartment units will be fully occupied by late summer.

Sheila Armstrong, who lived at Sojourner House with her son in 2005, spoke of the project’s impact during a ribbon cutting at the site earlier today. “Sojourner House meant everything to me and my son. It offered us safety and the chance to start again,” Armstrong said. “This renovation project is so important because it ensures Sojourner House will continue to be a safe haven for women and children who had to leave their homes to escape from violence.”

With the renovation and expansion project complete, Women Against Abuse will be able to serve 85 women and children each year. Sojourner House, which provides residents up to 18 months of safe housing, promotes healing from trauma and empowers women with the resources they need to secure safe, affordable housing upon program completion.

“This project comes at such a critical time to meet the growing need for safe and affordable housing for survivors of domestic violence in Philadelphia,” said Executive Director Jeannine Lisitski. “We are so grateful that we were able to not only preserve Sojourner House but to actually increase capacity. Now, more women and children who have lived through truly horrific experiences will be welcomed to new, comfortable apartments by caring, dedicated staff where they can begin to heal and rebuild their lives.”

Waitlists in Philadelphia for transitional housing programs can stretch for years. The women who arrive at Sojourner House earn well below federal poverty levels; unable to afford safe housing, they are often forced to return to an abuser, risking harm and injury. Last year in Philadelphia, there were at least 2,000 emergency room visits related to intimate partner violence; more than 140,000 calls to the police for domestic violence; and 24 domestic violence homicides.

The renovation and expansion of Sojourner House was made possible through the support of: The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (sponsored by State Senators LeAnna M. Washington and Vincent J. Hughes), FHLBank Pittsburgh (sponsored by Citizen’s Bank), Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (sponsored by M&T Bank), Connelly Foundation, Nonprofit Finance Fund, AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership, Regional Housing Legal Services, Barbara Mary Wei-Gump Foundation, Valentine Foundation, Community Design Collaborative and the Energy Coordinating Agency.

"The City of Philadelphia is committed to providing quality housing and resources for our most vulnerable citizens," said Deborah McColloch, Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development. "Funding projects like Sojourner House provides opportunities for lives to be changed."

###
About Women Against Abuse

Women Against Abuse is the leading domestic violence service provider and advocate in Pennsylvania, serving more than 13,900 individuals each year through emergency residential services, supportive transitional and permanent housing, legal aid, trauma-informed behavioral therapy and community education and training. Women Against Abuse’s mission is to provide quality, compassionate and nonjudgmental services that foster self-respect and independence in individuals experiencing intimate partner violence and to lead the effort to end domestic violence in Philadelphia through advocacy and community education. For more information, visit http://www.womenagainstabuse.org

waa-walk-1.jpg
Justine’s Story

Justine’s Story

Justine got to know Eric in college, while working part time at a Virginia-based home improvement store. They began casually dating in 1999, eventually marrying in May of 2006. Looking back, her sister, Lauren, can see the red flags.

Read Full Story
William’s Story

William’s Story

William Spratley flicks through the text messages on his phone until he finds the one he’s been looking for. It’s from his 27-year old daughter, Ameya, and it’s the last words he will ever exchange with her.

Read Full Story
Kathleen’s Story

Kathleen’s Story

Up until three years ago, Kathleen's* life was defined by her husband's moods, needs and whims.

Read Full Story
Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Pro bono representation provided by local law firms makes a meaningful difference for the thousands of clients seeking help at our Legal Center.

Read Full Story
Verizon’s Story

Verizon’s Story

A valued corporate partner, Verizon has been committed to empowering survivors of domestic violence in Philadelphia through HopeLine by Verizon.

Read Full Story
Sarah’s Story

Sarah’s Story

Sarah joined Women Against Abuse in September 2010 through a partnership program with the German peace and volunteer organization ARSP.

Read Full Story
Beth Huffman’s Story

Beth Huffman’s Story

When a survivor's child was in trouble, Beth Huffman helped organize a press conference to get the story out on behalf of Women Against Abuse's Legal Center.

Read Full Story
Mike’s Story

Mike's Story

Mike, a former police detective with the Philadelphia Police Department, has been working as the police liaison for Women Against Abuse, so that he can help survivors in ways he couldn’t as a detective.

Read Full Story
Amy’s Story

Amy’s Story

“This is not OK; this is not who I will be; I will love my children; violence will not be allowed in my home.”

Read Full Story
Sheila’s Story

Sheila’s Story

Sheila arrived at the Women Against Abuse Emergency Shelter after waking up in a hospital emergency room.

Read Full Story

If you or someone you know needs help, call our toll-free 24-hour Hotline:

1.866.723.3014

Sign up for Action Alerts, Updates & Newsletters!