Mission Focus

Coburn Place Safe Haven: Providing Housing and Support Services in Indianapolis

| Updated July 5, 2018

Undoing the damage and helping domestic violence survivors find a safe haven.

History and mission

Coburn Place was created as a result of the Safe Haven Campaign that was implemented to address the lack of housing and services in Indianapolis for victims of domestic violence. Since opening in 1996, Coburn Place has provided housing and support services to more than 735 adults and 1,183 children, providing advocacy services to 352 adults and 107 on the wait-list.

Coburn Place not only offers housing options and supportive services, but also enhances and expands services to ensure that the needs of each individual client and the Indianapolis community are truly met based on current trends, program evaluation research and best practice. Coburn Place has made a shift and evolved to offer programming in new ways including providing multiple housing options and supportive services to clients housed in community-based units as well as, supportive services to outreach wait-listed clients and graduates.

Community housing and supportive services

Community Housing and Supportive Services in Coburn Place’s core program to provide outreach, supportive services and housing for adult survivors of domestic violence and their children. Coburn Place clients include: individuals and families on the waitlist; residing in 35 onsite units; residing in at least 20 community based units; outreach clients; and program graduates. Coburn Place onsite housing clients are female (98 percent of adults and 50 percent of children) and low income (100 percent).

Housing options include transitional housing and housing in community based housing units. Onsite, rent-free, safe transitional housing for up to 24 months, is available to homeless, low-income adults and their families who are survivors of domestic violence.

In 2016, Coburn Place began providing services and housing support through community based-housing units. This component of Community Housing and Supportive Services offers support to clients in housing units of their choice located within the Indianapolis community. Clients living in community based units have fewer self-sufficiency barriers and safety risks than clients residing within the Coburn Place facility and pay a portion of their income toward rent while receiving financial rent/utility assistance from Coburn Place (for up to 12 months). As goals are achieved, advocates continue to assess the level of financial assistance provided and scale it down as appropriate so that self-sufficiency may be achieved by program’s end. Clients residing onsite or in community-based locations sign leases to restore or build a rental history.

When a client contacts Coburn Place, they are paired with an advocate to complete a needs assessment for supportive services. Housing referrals originate through the Community Coordinated Entry System and are routed to the most appropriate option: waitlist for transitional housing; receive community based housing; or outreach services. There are five domains of well-being including: social connectedness, stability, safety, mastery and meaning access to relevant resources. These domains of well-being are the universal, interdependent and non-hierarchical essential needs that all individuals have. Breaking cycles of poverty, violence and trauma requires supporting people by meeting their needs in, and making progress in, all five domains (Full Frame Initiative, 2016).

Activities are offered within the domains and focus on Coburn Place’s four pillars of: safety; well-being; housing readiness; and self sufficiency and include: advocacy, case management and mentoring. Volunteer support to assist clients; crisis response services and safety planning support; workshops on topics such as healthy relationships, sexual health, domestic violence, self-defense, and tech safety; activities that improve well-being; quarterly services expos for adults and children; access to therapy and support groups; survivor-led Changin’ Faces classes; housing advocacy; free, on-site transitional housing for up to 24 months; community-located and permanent housing referrals. Permanent Housing Assessments and Personal Housing Action Plans; housing workshops; direct assistance and referrals for basic needs and support services; health and fitness sessions and 24-hour access to the fitness center for transitional housing clients; Needs Assessments and Personal Plans for Independence ; financial literacy workshops; financial coaching; and referrals for employment skills training. With additional housing options and comprehensive services, Coburn Place clients are empowered with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to achieve self-sufficiency.

The need for community housing and supportive services at Coburn Place

In the U.S., 20 people on average are physically abused by their intimate partner every minute. This equates to more than 10 million victims of domestic violence annually. Additionally, one in three women have been physically abused by an intimate partner (Center for Disease Control Prevention, 2011). While domestic violence most often occurs in the home, it is a community issue. More than half of Americans know someone who has experienced domestic violence (Avon Foundation, 2013) and yet victims are often shamed to silence. Furthermore, the need for safe housing and the economic resources to maintain safe housing are two of the most pressing concerns among abused women who are planning to leave or have recently left abusers (Clough, Draughon, et al.,2014).

During a one-day Domestic Violence Counts survey, 1,863 adults and children in Indiana received domestic violence-focused support such as advocacy, prevention services, housing services, legal services, mental counseling and support groups (NNEDV, 2015). Also, the latest Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Program statistics state that 5,909 adults and 3,945 children were served in emergency shelters in Indiana for domestic violence. And, 18,810 individuals received non-residential services related to domestic violence (July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015). In indianapolis, between 360 and 700 families every year becomes homeless due to domestic violence (ICADV, 2013).

Coburn Place results

In 2016, Coburn Place achieved the following results; through onsite and community-based housing; the waitlist; and crisis calls, 679 individuals were impacted; 33,024 days and nights of safety were provided; 93 percent of adults completed a needs assessment and Personal Plan for Independence; 76 percent of adults improved their housing readiness; and 98 percent of clients who lived at Coburn Place and participated in supportive services were able to exit to permanent housing compared to 48 percent of clients who did not choose to receive services.

MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.

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