November: Doorways for Women and Families Releases Homelessness Awareness Month Story Ideas

National Homelessness Awareness Month is more important than ever this year. With high unemployment and a sagging economy, families are feeling the affects. Below are several story ideas from an Arlington-based shelter that shed light on homelessness’ impact on families and communities.

Arlington, VA, November 09, 2009 --( November is National Homelessness Month. Below are several story ideas that could help audiences understand homelessness’ impact on families and communities.

Violence Leads to Homelessness
Studies show a connection of domestic violence to homelessness, particularly among families with children. One study has found that 50 percent of homeless women and children were homeless because they were fleeing homes with abuse. Similarly, Doorways for Women and Families, a leading provider of services to homeless and abused women in Arlington, Va., sees a high number of its Family Home residents with family violence in their pasts. Talk to Doorways’ staff and volunteers about how this impacts families.

Open Home Tours Help Homeless
Responding to the growing needs of homeless families, Doorways started a new innovative fundraiser: Open Doors Home Tour. The November 14th tour will feature its recently rebuilt Freddie Mac Foundation Family Home as well as eight other new or renovated homes in the Lyon Park area. Architects and builders will also be on hand to discuss their work. Reporters are invited to tour the homes, including the family shelter.

Need Outstrips Available Space
Despite serving more families than ever before last year, Doorways turned away 925 eligible individuals (adults and children) who needed immediate housing due to lack of space in its Family Home; enough people to stretch the length of eight football fields. While Doorways is continuing to expand the capacity of its programs, the number of homeless families needing services in Arlington and Northern Virginia continues to create an unmet demand to be addressed. Discuss strategies to end homelessness with Doorways' leadership.

Surge in Abuse
The economy is adding more stress to families, increasing domestic violence and homelessness. In fact, Doorways for Women and Families, Arlington’s leading provider of services to abused and homeless women and their families, has experienced a 56 percent increase in calls to its hotline from last year. Interview a woman who has survived domestic violence about her own plight…and that of her children.

Getting FIT Helps Homeless Save $
Doorways’ Financial Independence Track (FIT) is an interactive “one on one” financial education program that teaches clients the basics and mechanics of money and debt management. The personalized sessions empower clients to manage their current daily finances and understand their debt and address debt issues which may prevent them from living independently. The FIT program utilizes a Wealth Enhancement approach to increasing the cumulative wealth of families through enhanced earnings, entitlement program maximization, debt reduction and cost savings. This year, FIT provided nearly 700 individual sessions for women and families who resided in its Domestic Violence Safehouse and its HomeStart Supportive Housing Program.

About Doorways for Women and Families
For 30 years, Doorways for Women and Families, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, strives to end homelessness and family and intimate partner violence by offering safe shelter and housing, life changing support services and community advocacy. Recognized as a well-managed leader and innovator, Doorways has received numerous accolades, including the Washington Post’s Excellence in Nonprofit Management, Charity Navigator’s Four Stars for financial responsibility and Washingtonian Magazine’s Great Charities list.

Doorways for Women and Families
Shawn Flaherty