YWCA Evanston/North Shore today announced an expansion of its domestic violence program.

As a complement to its 90-day emergency shelter, the YWCA has purchased a 16-unit apartment building that will provide longer-term housing for domestic violence survivors and their children.

The agency, which has operated a shelter for 31 years, is the only comprehensive residential domestic violence program in the northeastern Chicago metropolitan area. In addition to emergency shelter, the domestic violence program assists survivors with a 24-hour crisis line, residential and community counseling and legal advocacy.

The new program will fulfill a significant unmet need for survivors, giving women who are escaping desperate situations the time they need to secure stable housing, employment and financial stability, says Karen Singer, YWCA Evanston/North Shore President and CEO.

YWCA USA reports that “a lack of affordable housing can prevent victims of domestic violence from escaping abuse or otherwise generate dire circumstances for those who have managed to leave. One report by the ACLU found that half of all cities in the United States point to domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.”

Expanding shelter facilities “has been a dream for us for many years,” Singer said, “and we are thrilled that it will soon be realized. We will be able to keep families together in a safe place as they work toward becoming whole and healed and are able to secure housing and financial stability.”

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