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Domestic Violence Is The Number One Driver Of Homelessness For Women In LA County— Why Is It Rarely Addressed In Policy?




A homeless encampment is pictured at Venice Beach, on June 30, 2021 in Venice, California, where an initiative began this week offering people in homeless encampments a voluntary path to permanent housing.
A homeless encampment is pictured at Venice Beach, on June 30, 2021 in Venice, California, where an initiative began this week offering people in homeless encampments a voluntary path to permanent housing.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

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The majority of unhoused women across the nation — 57% according to recent data — say domestic violence is the direct cause of losing their permanent home. 

In L.A, almost 40% of women who are homeless say they’ve experienced abuse in the last 12 months.

The choice they’ve been forced to make: Stay in danger with their abusers — or escape, with nowhere to go.

“It’s like jumping from a burning building but there’s no net to catch you,” said Nikki Brown, a survivor and advocate.

There are many, complex reasons why survivors become homeless. Shame is one of them. Yet studies show that one in three women experience some form of intimate partner abuse in their lives. So why don’t we talk about it more?

“It's the greatest secret that's super common and nobody wants to admit it,” said Brown. “There are so many complicated circumstances that make it really hard to leave. And when you can't leave, that element of shame and blame is the thing that makes it so hard to talk about.”

Today on AirTalk, we’re learning more about reporter Julia Paskin’s series Pushed Out, on domestic violence and homelessness in Los Angeles. Do you have an experience you want to share? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Julia Paskin, KPCC producer and reporter who created the “Pushed Out” series; she tweets @JuliaPaskinInc

Amy Turk, CEO of Downtown Women’s Center, which advocates and offers services for women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women; she tweets @AmyFTurk

Nikki Brown, staff attorney at Community Legal Aid SoCal, where she has clients that are domestic violence survivors