Over the last two years, DASH engaged Drs. Cris Sullivan and Nkiru Nnawulezi to conduct an evaluation of the DASH model. Dr. Sullivan, Director of Michigan State University’s Research Consortium on Gender-based Violence, is a national expert on evaluating the effectiveness of housing programs providing survivor-centered, empowering advocacy. Dr. Nnawulezi, who is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, conducts participatory research and evaluation studies with domestic violence shelters. Together, they designed a mixed-methods evaluation to explore the effectiveness of DASH Cornerstone Housing Program.
The DASH model is a value-based decision making and management model to working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The model is premised on three elements:
- Survivors with complex needs – often resulting from situations which involved multiple/sustained trauma, institutional oppression, and systemic marginalization – are best served through programs which are highly individualized, relational, and adaptable;
- The degree to which survivors present with such complex needs is inversely proportionate to the degree that program structure and service intensity that will effectively enable survivor safety and empowerment; and,
- Staff who work in such programs require an equivalent degree of autonomy, flexibility, and skill-building in order to implement such programs.
In other words, the best way to help people with complex needs is through a simple yet nuanced approach that supports both survivors, and their advocates, to be empowered and self-determining.
Drs. Sullivan and Nnawulezi developed a specific research model that examined the efficacy of the DASH model and structure and its impact on survivors’ ability to pursue longer-term safety and stability following their work with DASH. Through the evaluation process, researchers working hand-in-hand with DASH staff and program participants developed a specialized evaluation instrument to measure the impact of DASH’s model on survivor outcomes.
This past month, DASH received the final evaluation report prepared by Dr. Nnawulezi. “We are really pleased to have evidence which supports our approach to working with survivors to achieve safety, empowerment, and self-determination,” said Peg Hacskaylo, DASH Executive Director.
The final evaluation report can be read here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9iDJmqs9Mj_RzU2eU1kRVU4ZE0
DASH is an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and their families, as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. We envision a culture where safe housing is a human right shared by everyone.