As part of the City’s COVID-19 response, City of San Francisco’s Human Services Agency worked with property owner Veritas to secure 20 furnished apartment units for survivors of domestic violence
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and District Attorney Chesa Boudin today announced that San Francisco has secured 20 furnished apartment units for survivors of domestic violence. The temporary homes will be donated by Veritas, and are the result of a collaboration with Mayor Breed, District Attorney Boudin, the Human Services Agency, and the City’s community-based domestic violence advocates. The City is also working to secure additional housing for survivors of domestic violence.
Over the past weeks and months, Shelter-in-Place Orders have been issued throughout the world to slow the spread of COVID-19. While staying at home except for essential needs is important for slowing the virus, it has created a difficult and often dangerous situation for people who are experiencing domestic violence. While many organizations have modified service delivery to provide virtual support, it is difficult for a survivor to confidentially access those resources if they reside in the same home as the abusive partner.
During the first week after the shelter-in-place directive, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office saw an initial spike of a 60% increase in clients referred to its Victim Services Division compared to the same week in 2019. In the second week, the office saw a 33% decrease in new client referrals. As we continue to monitor domestic violence cases, it is paramount for survivors to know that there are safe emergency housing options available for them, their children, and their pets during this crisis.
“While staying home except for essential needs is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, it isn’t the safest option for everyone. On top of dealing with the global pandemic, far too many families also have to deal with the threat of violence and abuse at home, all while being more socially isolated from their friends and other support networks,” said Mayor Breed. “We are seeing a concerning increase in cases of domestic violence around the world and in San Francisco, and there’s a growing need to have more safe places for survivors to go. I’m grateful to Veritas for stepping up and donating these 20 homes so that we have some additional resources for people who need help during this uniquely challenging time.”
“As we shelter in place to limit COVID transmission, survivors of domestic violence are at an increased risk of danger and victimization by their abusers,” said District Attorney Chesa Boudin. “Now more than ever, we must work together to ensure that the most vulnerable of our victims have a place to shelter free from abuse. We have come up with an immediate plan for 20 furnished apartments and are working collaboratively to find shelter for many more survivors in the coming days.”
“For people experiencing domestic violence, the public health stay-at-home orders meant to save lives can have the unintended consequence of isolating them from the community and services that help keep families safe,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “We often face challenges to find alternative housing for people experiencing abuse. We are grateful for Veritas’ generosity and the opportunity to connect these vital housing sites to the District Attorney’s Office as an important part of the City’s response to increased threats of violence during this unprecedented global pandemic.”
“As a homegrown San Francisco business, we feel deeply tied to our community and know how hard this public health crisis has been on everyone, especially the most vulnerable,” said Yat‑Pang Au, Founder and CEO Veritas Investments. “Whether it’s providing temporary housing for individuals displaced by fire, families seeking care at our local medical institutions, or in this case, survivors of domestic violence, Veritas is always seeking ways to be a supportive member of the San Francisco community.”
“La Casa de las Madres is open and working to support survivors, because, sadly, domestic violence doesn’t stop during a pandemic,” said Kathy Black, Executive Director, La Casa de las Madres. “We know that as this pandemic goes on, there will be an increased need for services and shelter, and these 20 temporary homes are a good place to start. I’m glad to see the City taking action to protect our most vulnerable residents and am thankful for Mayor Breed’s efforts to support survivors.”
Veritas, a San Francisco-based real estate management company, is donating 20 furnished apartment units for temporary use by domestic violence survivors as part of their Safe Home Program. The homes are located in several secure buildings throughout the city. Survivors and their families, including their pets, can move in at their convenience and can stay for up to 90 days at no cost. The apartments should be available by the end of this week. During that time, survivors will be supported by one of our community-based domestic violence agencies, who will provide wraparound services and referrals. Domestic violence agencies will refer clients directly as needed, based on availability.
These new housing units supplement the existing domestic violence shelters in San Francisco. Domestic violence shelters and hotlines are deemed essential businesses under the Stay Home Order and continue to operate.