Building Brick Award
We are excited to award Mary Braxton, Assistant Community Manager at Edgewood Commons, with the “Building Brick” award. In construction, the “building brick” is that which makes up the substance of the structure. Mary Braxton’s help to ensure that the families at DASH are provided with more than just a safe place to run, but the ability to establish new homes – quickly, easily, and comfortably, the way a home should be – helps changes lives.
How did you first become connected to DASH?
My first connection with DASH was around the beginning of 2014 while working at another Edgewood Managed property. I was online researching housing programs for victims of Domestic Violence to assist a resident that was dealing with a serious domestic issue with her family and I came across a link (http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/dashs-empowerment-project-rapid-re-housing-for-survivors-of-domestic-violen ). I clicked on the link it was an article about DASH. I then googled DASH to get the contact information. I reached out to DASH to get more information and I started referring residents to them.
What has DASH’s impact been on the survivors of domestic violence you work with?
DASH has had a tremendous impact on the survivors I work with. The financial assistance that DASH has provided to survivors it has enable them to maintain their affordable housing and most are now receiving counseling from other sources. Unfortunately, due to the type of work I do I’m unable to provide specific stories.
From your perspective as a property manager, what are some of the unique challenges that survivors of domestic violence face when looking for affordable housing?
The greatest challenge survivors face is having good credit. Many of the survivors I work with depended on their abusers for financial assistance to pay their rent . Once the abuser leaves then the survivor can no longer rely on that source for assistance. Unfortunately, it’s a trickle-down effect and they’re not able to pay the rent on time and as a result I have to sue them. Every time they’re sued it’s reported to the credit bureau and then their credit is negatively impacted. When the survivor goes to look for affordable housing the first thing that is checked is their rental and credit history. Most HUD funded properties will not accept applicants with negative rental history.
Why do you think that safe housing is an important service for survivors of domestic violence in DC?
I think safe housing is an extremely important service for survivors because it allows them time to get themselves together and reflect on their situation. Without safe housing they will not be able to move forward with their recovery.