Victims of domestic violence and their children are violated both by the crime of domestic violence and its frequent result, the loss of their homes. Domestic violence victims are a homeless population with very special needs.

The Fresh Start transitional housing program was developed in response to two of those needs, the acute shortage of decent, affordable housing for low-income families and the recognition that living in an abusive relationship has serious social and emotional consequences that must by addressed as part of achieving self-sufficiency.

Fresh Start was born out of an awareness that a safe house was just the first step away from a violent home. Fresh Start enables this awareness to become a bridge from the Safe House and uncertainty to a more stable and safe living environment.

The population served by Fresh Start consists of women and their children who are victims of domestic violence and have received emergency housing and other domestic violence-related services from Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA. Experience has taught staff in domestic violence safe houses that battered women frequently do not have the financial or emotional ability to establish living quarters independent from the person who has abused them without additional supportive services. These supportive services are what Fresh Start is all about.

Guests of Fresh Start receive life skills training while their children participate in the children’s program. Empowerment, supportive and educative counseling is offered and extensive case management is provided.

The Fresh Start transitional housing program attempts to provide a secure and supportive living situation, counseling and a network to community services empowering battered women to achieve an independent lifestyle.

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