Center for Hope and Safety
Center for Hope and Safety
The purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive narration of the industrial visit to Center for Hope and Safety (CHS) in New Jersey. The visit report entails information concerning the history and cultural context of the organization as well as its impacts on the human society. Given the nature of the field of practice the organization operates in, there is the additional perception of exhibition space. The concept refers to the understanding that work reflects the character and opinion of an institution as observed by an external spectator. The Center for Hope and Safety provides critical preventive and counseling services to women at high risk of domestic violence. The organization provides survivors of domestic abuse, human trafficking and sexual assault a safe environment while equally educating the public concerning topics associated with victimization. Domestic violence is a known cause of homelessness amongst women in New Jersey, which mandates more support and safety planning be connected to local resources.
History of the Organization
Center for Hope and safety is committed to helping victims of domestic violence and their children by transforming their fear and sense of helplessness into hope and strength. The non-profit organization was established in 1976 with the mission to provide women with the necessary tools required to leave the violent space and empower the children with chances for new beginnings. The institution seeks to eradicate racism and all other types of discrimination in the United States. It is the belief of the organization that each individual has the right to feel safe, free from violence and the fear associated with it.
As a non-profit, CHS complies with Government Auditing Standards that are determined by the Comptroller General of the United States. Federal grants are the primary source of funding accounting for over 70% of the organization’s activities. Welfare and client housing are the other main generators of funds for CHS. In the year 2018, federal grants, housing revenue and welfare support surpassed $2.5 million. The non-profit employs a hierarchical structure to its management, with the Executive Director representing the senior most position. In descending order, the executive Director is followed by the Director of Programs, Director of Development, Board of Trustees and Board Members.
Types of Services
High levels of housing scarcity in major towns and cities are part reason why the Center for Hope and Safety prioritizes the provision of accommodation to victims. As aforementioned, formerly called Shelter our Sisters (SOS), the non-profit organization offers victims of domestic violence several accommodation alternatives as broken down below:
Emergency Shelter Program
The program offers victims of domestic violence 24/7 housing, given that it is determined that they are in immediate and constant danger. The program also provides a variety of services including legal advocacy, case management services and theraputic counseling.
The organization offers women low-cost housing alternatives to facilitate their ‘moving forward’ from abusive relationships. Housing is perceived as a line of support that enables the women to develop self-sufficiency skills while equally providing the opportunity for them to pursue personal goals.
The initiative is designed in a way to counter the psychological implications of domestic abuse in child. The objective is to stabilize the child’s environment by addressing their anger, depression, anxiety, social impairments and self-esteem concerns. The program entails preschool activities for young children, afterschool sessions for teenagers and case management services for late teens. An important observation was the recently introduces, art therapy program, where children engage in creating art as a way of responding to the chaos associated with their family environment. The art program also includes individual, group and family counseling services.
The Self-Sufficiency Project
The program is designed to solely empower women achieve financial success as part of their journey to independence. An internal Career Trainer provides job-readiness training, which includes instructions in resume writing, basic academics and interview techniques. Victims that engage in PSS have the chance of coming out with certified diplomas in financial management. The organization has two external domestic violence liaisons that provide consulting and education services throughout the country. CHS works with the liaisons to include a special PSS class at Bergen Community College. PSS is CHS’ only program that allows the inclusion of volunteers. Interested parties reach out directly to the institution via their telephone line and sign up for self-sufficiency training.
Impact of the Organization
Center for Hope and Safety represents more than the provision of shelter to the homeless. The organization helps its client find and secure employment opportunities through its rigorous self-sufficient program. CHS also connects its clients with educational opportunities as it provides English language learning, GED and college applications. In cases involving human trafficking, the institution assists in immigration and acquisition of citizenship. In 2018 alone, 83 women alongside 93 children were able to find safe shelter in CHS homes. 25 women and 31 children benefited from the transitional housing initiative, which prepared them for a safe and proper return to the community. A total of 76 women were able to receive competent legal representation with a further 144 more receiving legal counsel on custody, child support, restraining orders, and divorce. The positive impacts of CHS are even greater at community level.
More than 3000 residents of Bergen County have undergone domestic violence education. In 2018, 95 individuals, including volunteers enrolled and received vocational training. The trainees served more than 500 families with domestic violence consultations (CHS, 2019). According to CHS’ project webpage, 70% of the children who received art therapy displayed emotional, behavioral and cognitive improvement. Out of the group sessions, 95% of the families displayed improved functioning (CHS, 2019). For a county heavily hit by the opioid crisis, Center for Hope and Safety is playing a critical role in removing the paths that lead to homelessness and domestic abuse. The success of CHS in Bergen County is proof why low-cost housing initiatives have to be integrated with local businesses and the people in order to ascertain sustainability.
Center for Hope and Safety makes finding the right shelters an easy task for victims of domestic violence. A simple internet research will direct clients to verified shelters spread across Bergen County. The free services can be of help to any individual suffering from psychological, verbal, physical and emotional abuse. In a capitalistic and male dominated world, women and children require more comprehensive safety planning. The need is greater for vulnerable populations, including the poor, drug and substance abusers and members from minority communities. Domestic violence is a known cause of homelessness. The relationship demands more integration of safety planning initiatives with local, state and federal resources. It is exceptional how CHS embraces the need for safe environments even in its exhibition spaces, as homes are both functional and emotionally warm.
Center for Hope and Safety. (2019). Our Impact. CHS. Retrieved from https://www.hopeandsafetynj.org/about-us/our-impact/