Housing Instability and Domestic Violence

As we greet Halloween, we also come to the end of Domestic Violence Awareness month. October has reminded me of the importance of standing up for the victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Although November is just around the corner, I know that we will continue to raise awareness about this issue and it’s effects on residents of Monterey County. For me, one of the most tragic truths I’ve learned this month is that women often stay in abusive situations because of finances. As we all know, Monterey County is a very expensive place to live, and it can be daunting to acheive economic self-sufficiency when you're on your own, especially when there are children in the picture.

This situation was highlighted for me last Friday at the 2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Luncheon hosted by the YWCA. Taylor Armstrong, the keynote speaker, talked about her abuser’s financial power over her and how her only means of purchasing anything was an American Express card. She could never stockpile any cash resources, and her abuser would carefully review every purchase on her credit card. If a TV celebrity has such a difficult time leaving an abusive situation, imagine what it must be like for people with many fewer resources and connections.

Even with the great challenges that this country faces in protecting and reintegrating victims of abuse and trafficking, I am inspired by the mission of the YWCA and their efforts to operate more safe houses in our cities. I also now see, more than ever before, the need for affordable housing and am glad to know that United Way is working in partnership with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) and the Housing Trust Silicon Valley to provide more affordable housing options for the people that need them most.

Clare Margason
Community Impact Coordinator