DASH is in the HuffPost!

DASH NEWS RELEASE : August 14, 2009


Excerpted from RJ Eskow’s August 13, 2009 article posted to The Huffington Post:

Domestic violence is a health policy issue. It adds to the cost of medical care while harming the public’s health. Meaningful statistics are hard to come by — which of itself reflects society’s neglect of the topic — but I recently received a compilation of domestic violence statistics from DASH, the District Alliance for Safe Housing in Washington DC, where my daughter was a law clerk this summer.

In the District of Columbia alone, with less than 600,000 inhabitants, the Police Department received 31,215 “domestic-related crime calls.” That’s one call every nineteen minutes, as DASH notes. Most of these incidents (this site [http://www.aidv-usa.com/statistics.htm] estimates 85-95%) involve violence against women.

The last meaningful federal survey took place in 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration. A Department of Justice survey on the “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence” found that nearly 25% of surveyed women said they had been raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, partner, or date. That equates to roughly 4.8 million violent attacks against women annually in this country. And many women were the victim of repeat attacks (an average of 6.9 assaults by the same partner).

The study also found that “approximately one-fifth of all rapes, one-quarter of all physical assaults, and one-half of all stalkings” experienced by women will not be reported to the police. That makes DASH’s police figures even more staggering.

It’s curious how blind we become to our own culture. We can criticize tribal Muslim societies for their abuse of women, yet fail to see how ours sometimes does the same thing. What can we do? We can support organizations like DASH, which provides alternate housing for victims of domestic violence. We can press for public policies that address domestic violence. We can speak out against the culture of violence — a culture that’s strengthened every time a women is treated like an object.
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The entire article is available at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/ending-the-culture-of-vio_b_259153.html

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DASH Testifies at Public Oversight Hearing

DASH NEWS RELEASE : July 31, 2009

PUBLIC OVERSIGHT HEARING
BY THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE ON
THE FISCAL YEAR 2009 AND FISCAL YEAR 2010 BUDGET
GAP-CLOSING STRATEGIES

July 24, 2009

Testimony of
Peg Hacskaylo, MSW
Executive Director
District Alliance for Safe Housing, Inc.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today regarding the Fiscal Year 2009 and 2010 Budget. I am Peg Hacskaylo, Executive Director of the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH). DASH is deeply concerned about the cuts in the Mayor’s proposal to different programs serving domestic violence victims and their children. DASH’s plea today focuses on the cuts facing the Office of Victims Services (OVS), for funding that impact your constituents, primarily women and children, facing circumstances that are so terrifying, some have called it the equivalent of war in the home – we know it as domestic violence.

The current cuts facing OVS total $340,000. These cuts will leave victims and children with few or no options for help, safety or support. The District has less than 10 organizations dedicated to domestic violence victims, the majority with fewer than 5 staff. These organizations are barely surviving in this economy, many having laid off staff; cut salaries for employees already living a non-profit lifestyle – often paycheck to paycheck; cut programs and services; or stopped serving new clients because the capacity does not exist. Each organization meets specific needs like housing, legal services, case management, and court based advocacy. Many organizations serve special populations, such as immigrant, teens, and disabled victims. The OVS cuts will devastate our community and the victims we serve.

DASH is the direct result of your dedication and commitment to victims and their children, specifically to victims and children in need of safe housing. We are also the result of OVS’s commitment to ensuring that your vision for increasing safe housing comes to life. DASH’s housing projects are the first large-scale housing projects for victims in the District in over twenty years. We must have the District’s continued funding commitment to sustain housing programs and provide safe housing options for the District’s residents. While housing is a critical component to an effective coordinated community response to domestic violence, so too are the core services needed to address the devastating legal, economic and emotional impact of domestic violence on victims and their children. When victims access DASH’s low-barrier safe housing programs they will have found physical safety, but DASH advocates and the victims we serve need to rely on a large and strong network of organizations to support each family in addressing a multitude of issues.

In recent months, homicides related to domestic violence have received significant media attention — husbands killing their wives and children, boyfriends killing girlfriends — countless innocent lives have been lost. The media has put the spotlight on domestic violence and the impact of the economy. Today I want us to consider the fact that domestic violence existed prior to the economic downturn. I want us to think about how the tragic impact of this economy will be the elimination or depletion of services to victims and their children. Cutting funds to OVS will directly result in that. Yes, during these economic times many victims fear leaving their batterers because they may have lost their jobs and have no financial resources or they may have no place to go because the homeless shelters are at capacity and safe housing options are still limited. However, that does not mean attempts to find safety will not be made. The same victims who fear leaving their batterers may still make that call for help to a hotline, or one of the local domestic violence programs, or DASH and we must be here to support them. The District cannot take away any more life lines.

Your efforts to sustain the levels of funding to OVS in recent years has directly resulted in lives being saved and families finding the help they need. This is not the time to consider cutting funds to the organizations in the District providing services and support to victims—often serving as the only lifeline they have.

I know you face challenging decisions and all of the cuts you are considering will impact underserved populations, but my plea today is for you to spare OVS, for the sake of the victims and children who are still able to get services from District providers.
Survivors Voices:

It is always challenging for victims in safe housing to speak publicly about their experience due to safety concerns. However, there are many stories and experiences to share. The following stories come directly from victims served by DASH:

“DASH gave me a home! A place for my son and I to feel safe and cared for. I consider them one of my many blessings”

“I really appreciate the opportunity I was given for me and my family to start over. CVC and DASH has been a big help and really gave me everything I needed to gain my independence back. I am so thankful for this program. Everyone has been extremely helpful during this extreme time of need. In the last 4 months, I have felt safer here than I have in years. Thank you so much for this program, and the staff you have running this program. My advocate as well as the rest of the DASH team, they have made this transition for me and my family go as smooth, safe, and comfortable as they possibly could. I am ready to go on my own, and start my life over with me and my 4 kids….”

“…The DASH program is helping me rebuild my life for my children and for myself. There are not any other programs like DASH. I entered the program with a 3 week old son and two other children, and I don’t know what I would have done without DASH….”

“I was pregnant when I was assaulted by the father of my son. I was assisted by Crime Victims and placed at a hotel. I gave birth to my son. This program has been a blessing for myself and my three children. It has enabled me to feel safe, supported, and at peace. Since entering the DASH program I have been able to get myself mentally organized, and regain my strength. I am very hopeful for me and my kid’s futures; I have not had to depend on others which is a blessing. My 16 year old and 17 year old are happy to be here as well. My goal while in the program is to find housing, transitional or find an apartment, and to find employment. Since I have been here I have gotten a lot done for my baby boy such as getting birth certificates, social security card, finding daycare very close to where we are, finding pediatrician and just getting to know my newborn without drama from others.”

“First of all I want to say thank you all of the program staff. God bless you and your life, family. We need to be stay here because we got some place, helping to find school, food, money for transport….thank you for giving us this chance and God bless this program.”

Overview of Domestic Violence in the District of Columbia:

In 2008, the Metropolitan Police Department received 31,215 domestic violence-related calls—one call every 19 minutes. In 2008, during one 24-hour period, 167 victims were served by domestic violence organizations in the District, and 134 victims were either in emergency or transitional housing, including hotels, or were provided assistance with finding safe housing. Local hotlines receive approximately 300 calls weekly from victims seeking housing.

District of Columbia Council Funding Appropriations Directly Impacts Victims of Domestic Violence Victims and Children Seeking Safe Housing:

Until March 2009, the District only had 48 emergency beds for victims and their children. This changed as a result of District leadership committed to the safety of victims and their children. As a result of this commitment and the funding appropriations directed toward safe housing programs, DASH launched our emergency safe housing program, Huruma Place I and II, more than doubling emergency safe housing for victims and children. In just four months, we have provided safe housing to twenty-two victims and forty-four children. In fact, Huruma Place is a direct result of the FY09 local safe housing funding appropriation that was saved just a few months ago due to the leadership and commitment of city leaders, advocates and District residents to ensuring that the city follows through on its dedication of funds to increase and sustain safe housing.

The Council has shown its ongoing commitment by ensuring that adequate local funds have been appropriated for safe housing each fiscal year since 2007. Due to this funding commitment DASH will more than triple safe housing for victims in FY 2009 and FY2010.

OVS has demonstrated its commitment to both sustaining and creating safe housing by ensuring that funding is appropriated to local shelter and safe housing programs. Through OVS’s support of DASH’s programs and activities, and through their vision and leadership, OVS has gained broad community investment in their plan for expanding and sustaining domestic violence housing.

In addition to Huruma Place, DASH has been able to create and sustain several programs that directly address the housing needs of victims and their children. We provide a scattered site transitional housing program, and through our Housing Resource Center we work directly with victims and caseworkers to generate housing options and help victims gain access to safe housing. DASH is also in the process of beginning renovations on our 44-unit building that will function as a low barrier, co-located emergency and transitional safe housing program for all domestic victims – regardless of addiction, mental illness, or disability. We plan to open the doors to this housing program by 2010.

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DASH Executive Director Chosen for Leadership Washington

DASH NEWS RELEASE : July 29, 2009

DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo
Selected for Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2010

Washington, DC— District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo was recently selected as a member of Leadership Greater Washington’s (LGW) 24th Class. Leadership Greater Washington’s mission is to connect and challenge diverse regional leaders for the purpose of improving the quality of life in the Greater Washington area. Ms. Hacskaylo shares the distinction of LGW Class of 2010 membership with fifty-six other leaders who collectively represent our region’s diversity in its many facets.

“I am honored to be a part of Leadership Greater Washington, and I look forward to making connections that will help me—and help DASH—to be a stronger leader and agent for change in the District,” said Hacskaylo. The 2010 Leadership class members will begin their journey in September 2009.

Established in 1986, Leadership Greater Washington was constructed by a group of regional leaders, six area Chambers of Commerce and three committed organizations: The Greater Washington Board of Trade, The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation and The Junior League. Modeling Leadership Greater Washington after other community leadership organizations, its founders invested personal and professional resources to fulfill their vision of an organization that would foster communication and cooperation among the area’s established and emerging leaders.

Leadership Greater Washington offers dynamic, education and membership programs that promote dialogue and cooperation, enabling area leaders to find effective solutions to regional challenges. More information about the organization is available at www.lgwdc.org.

Founded in 2006, DASH provides safe housing, housing resources and information, as well as training and technical assistance to community agencies and victim service programs to increase the availability of safe, affordable housing options for women and their families. DASH serves dozens of local organizations and assists more than 1,000 local residents annually. For more information, visit www.dashdc.org.

 
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DASH Selected to Participate in 2009 Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon

DASH NEWS RELEASE : July 24, 2009

DASH Selected to Participate in
2009 Fannie Mae
Help the Homeless Walkathon

Washington, DC— District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) is proud to be a first-time beneficiary organization in Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Program. This year DASH marked three years of service, and became an eligible applicant for the 2009 Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the 2009 Help the Homeless Walkathon,” said DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo. “Participation will help DASH to raise awareness and foster support for ending homelessness that results from domestic violence.”

Fannie Mae created the Help the Homeless Program in 1988 to respond to the growing needs of homeless people in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The Help the Homeless Program culminates every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving at the Help the Homeless Walkathon. Over the past 20 years, the Help the Homeless Program has become the largest funding collaborative in the nation focused on homelessness, and has raised more than $69.5 million for nonprofit organizations in metropolitan Washington, DC that serve homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless.

Founded in 2006, DASH provides safe housing, housing resources and information, as well as training and technical assistance to community agencies and victim service programs to increase the availability of safe, affordable housing options for women and their families. DASH serves dozens of local organizations and assists more than 1,000 local residents annually. For more information, visit www.dashdc.org.

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OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce Visits DASH

DASH NEWS RELEASE : July 20, 2009

OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce Visits DASH
Washington, DC—DASH was honored to host OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce on a recent visit to tour our programs and meet with our staff.

DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo noted, “We appreciated the opportunity to showcase our innovative programs and services, and more importantly, to dialogue with Ms. Pierce about the profound and growing need for domestic violence programs in our city.”

OVW Acting Director Catherine Pierce (front, 2nd from right) pictured with DASH staff and OVW staff Alice Braithwaite (2nd from left) and Anna Martinez (rear, 3rd from right).

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District Receives $33.7 Million for Affordable Housing Development

DASH NEWS ALERT: June 23, 2009

District Receives $33.7 Million for Affordable Housing Development

(Washington, DC) – The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) today announced word from the Treasury Department that the District of Columbia will receive $33.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to spur the continued development of affordable housing units.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said, “This new stimulus funding will have an immediate and critical impact on the development and rehabilitation of affordable housin in the District of Columbia. It will help us move forward with affordable housing projects, and it will generate much needed jobs for District residents.”

Under Section 1602 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, housing credit agencies, such as the District’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), are eligible to receive grants in lieu of low‐income housing credits under section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) for 2009. In doing so, the District is electing to take a portion of its 2009 housing credit ceiling in the form of grant amounts, and agreeing to the terms and conditions applicable to the Section 1602 program.

In an effort to create and preserve opportunities for affordable housing and economic development in the District, DHCD said it will direct the Section 1602 grant funds to finance construction or acquisition and rehabilitation of qualified low‐income building for low‐income housing in lieu of low‐income housing tax credits.

DHCD issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) in April for projects focused on elderly housing; special needs housing; housing for chronically homeless individuals and families in mixed‐income buildings with supportive services; preservation of housing affected by expiring federal subsidies; new/substantial rehabilitation of housing; and new construction and preservation of affordable housing units. The application deadline was June 1.

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DASH Joins Mayor in Lauding Safe Housing

DASH NEWS RELEASE : May 20, 2009

DASH Joins Mayor Fenty in Marking the District’s Successful Commitment
to Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors:
Mayor’s initiative helps DASH to triple emergency
domestic violence housing in the city

Washington, DC—The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) today joined Mayor Adrian M. Fenty at the Lighthouse Center for Healing at a ceremony that marked notable achievements in the city’s commitment to house the homeless. The occasion spotlights remarkable growth in domestic violence safe housing in the District.


“The Mayor’s commitment to funding domestic violence housing sends two very important messages,” said DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo. “It means that women and children in our city will not have to choose between living without a home and living without abuse, and anyone made homeless by domestic violence is entitled to safe housing developed specifically to meet their needs.”


With the recent opening of its Huruma Place housing program, DASH doubled the number of domestic violence “emergency beds” in the District from 48 to 96. In June, when DASH opens Huruma Place II, that number will reach 136. The rapid growth in domestic violence emergency safe housing is a direct result of Mayor Fenty’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that the District prioritizes housing for domestic violence survivors and their children.


“Because domestic violence is a primary cause of homelessness among women and children, the urgency to provide safe housing options cannot be understated,” said Hacskaylo. “DASH is proud to be a leader in the expansion of safe housing in our city.”


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DASH Honored by the Department of Justice

DASH NEWS RELEASE : April 30, 2009

DASH Honored by the Department of Justice
Washington, DC—DASH was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice during 2009 National Crime Victims Rights Week. The organization was presented with a “Justice for Victims of Crime Award” for its work to shelter and support domestic violence survivors.

“DASH is honored to receive the ‘Justice for Victims of Crime Award’ in recognition of our work,said DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo.


The Award, presented annually at the Crime Victims Rights Week Ceremony, lauds outstanding dedication to the cause of justice on behalf of victims of crime and their families.
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