'Trapped:' Lack of affordable housing for domestic violence survivors

Rising Rent
Posted at 6:09 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 19:56:29-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Skyrocketing rent is negatively impacting domestic violence survivors.

A victim reached out to NewsChannel5 about how the lack of affordable housing has impacted her life. She got the courage to leave a bad situation, found an apartment with a section 8 voucher, and then was suddenly evicted.

We are hiding her identity for her safety.

"That feeling of it snapped up from under you, it's like your heart is taken out of your chest, it’s like what do you do? You got a child looking at you, what do you do?" she said.

The woman had 10 days to get out following her eviction, which is state law. When faced with homelessness, she said she turned to the person who hurt her to put a roof over her head.

"I feel defeated, I feel hopeless, I feel trapped, I feel like I don’t have a way out," she said.

She's not alone. At the Clarksville Area Urban Ministries SafeHouse, Alicia Sims said an influx of survivors are returning to their abusive partners because they lose hope in becoming financially independent.

"These landlords keep bumping up rent, " Sims said. She mentioned a person who signed a 6-month lease, and it’s now expected to go up hundreds of dollars.

The temporary emergency beds are constantly full, so the safe house is in the process of expanding their operations.

"It’s like a double-edged sword right now," Sims said, "It’s like, 'No I can’t get you into housing,' but I also can’t just tie up a bed."

Alicia's dream is to build transitional housing for domestic violence survivors.

"I will shake every tree I possibly can in this city — if we have to outsource, if we have to look in surrounding cities for something and they’re willing to try and relocate, I will learn resources,” Sims said.

As for the survivor NewsChannel5 interviewed, she's still in bad place.

"It just kind of sucks the life out of you; it makes you want to give up after you have tried so hard, and you just want to be a productive citizen, that’s all you want."