Empowering Survivors of Domestic Violence

Each minute, twenty people experience intimate partner violence, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate is even higher in economically-distressed areas, where families experiencing high levels of financial strain are more than three times as likely to experience domestic violence as those who are not. With a generous grant from the Office of Violence Against Women, LUCHA founded Project Jumpstart, a transitional housing program that addresses the needs of these low-income survivors. With the assistance of Project Jumpstart, survivors are able to relocate to safer accommodations, achieve socio-economic independence from their abusers, and connect with the necessary resources to begin healing from their trauma.

While the program is open to all survivors, it specializes in serving immigrants and Latinos within financially distressed areas, given these groups have an especially difficult time accessing domestic violence services as a result of social and/or geographic isolation, fear of legal repercussions (e.g. deportation, loss of child custody, etc.), language barriers, and cultural norms regarding marriage or relationships.

For more information, please contact Emma Epstein at (773) 489-8484 ext. 257 or eepstein@lucha.org.

In order to qualify, survivors must meet three requirements: (1) Be in the process of leaving (or recently have left) a domestic violence situation; (2) Be a resident of the city of Chicago; and (3) Have sufficient income to pay the difference between their monthly rent and the amount of rental assistance provided.

Rental Assistance
Survivors receive 12 months of rental assistance starting at $800 and incrementally decreasing down to $100 over the year. In addition, LUCHA is able to cover rental deposits and application fees.

Safety Planning
During the initial intake, staff and clients develop a working safety plan. Generally speaking, this plan covers how to protect yourself inside and outside the home, how to use legal protections, and recommendations for keeping children safer. In addition, safety planning covers technology and how to keep yourself safe in the virtual world. Each plan is individualized to the client and their needs.

Supportive Services
Survivors develop a case management plan which involves goal-setting, monthly check-ins and financial empowerment endeavors. Throughout the program, participants engage in relevant social services with LUCHA and other community partners. The various programs include group therapy, legal assistance, child care, employment counseling and job placement, utility assistance, as well as other public benefits.