Local shelter says lack of affordable housing hindering ability to help domestic abuse victims

Bruises on forehead. Domestic violence
Posted at 1:25 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 13:51:59-04

VIRGNIA BEACH, Va. – Many organizations in Hampton Roads that provide emergency housing for victims of domestic violence are at capacity. That problem is leaving struggling individuals and families even more stressed.

News 3 spoke with Robin Gauthier, the executive director of Samaritan House. She said they operate 14 different shelters in the area, all of which are full.

“If our shelter is full, we may call the HER shelter in Portsmouth, the YWCA in Norfolk, Transitions in Hampton, and see if they have space available,” Gauthier said. “But they're all full as well. They’re overwhelmed with people who are in their own communities.”

Gauthier says they’ve been busy throughout the pandemic, likely because of family stress and economic stress. However, she explained that the lack of affordable housing is keeping their shelters full because temporary residents can’t find a place.

“Affordable housing in what is fair market rent in the city of Virginia Beach is just too high for most people who have jobs working at fast-food restaurants or have jobs working at department stores or things like that. The price is just not affordable to them,” Gauthier said.

Gauthier knows the frustration and advises individuals to keep contacting some of the organizations listed below, getting on their waitlist, and updating them on their situation.

As for now, she said Samaritan House is focusing on victims in imminent danger, and they welcome any donations that could help pay for a hotel room for individuals in need.

“We try really hard to identify those people who are at the most risk of being hurt really bad or at risk of being killed by their abuser. And those are the ones we’re going to have to hunker down and put into a hotel if we have to.”

For more information on Samaritan House or to donate, click here.

The following are organizations that assist victims of domestic violence and homelessness:

ForKids’ Housing Crisis Hotline

  • Phone: 757-587-4202

Transitions Family Violence Services in Hampton

YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk

Avalon Center in Williamsburg

  • Phone: 757-258-5022
  • Offers transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services, legal advice, and counseling.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757- 258-5051

Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach

  • Phone: 757-631-0710
  • Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120

HER Shelter in Portsmouth

  • Phone: 757-485-1445
  • Offers emergency services, court assistance, shelter, employment, housing assistance.
  • Hotline: 757-485-3384

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233

Virginia Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-838-8238