Getting Home Project – Join our focus group!

  Fiona Jackson      19 September 2018

We are seeking your perspective! Please join us for a focus group on affordable housing solutions for women experiencing domestic violence and the role of co-operative housing to help them.

Invitation to participate in a focus group
CHF BC would like to invite our members to join us for a focus group session to help us better understand the co-op housing perspective as a solution to housing barriers for women and their children experiencing violence.

All co-op members are invited to participate. Please read the details of the project below. The focus group will be hosted by Michelle Iversen, General Manager, CHF BC, Tanyss Knowles, Getting Home Project Coordinator, BCSTH and Amy FitzGerald, Director, Training & Programs, BCSTH on Monday, October 15, 2018, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Dinner will be provided. Please RSVP by Sept 30 to miversen@chf.bc.ca.

Project Description
The Getting Home Project is a three-year project focused on reducing barriers to safe, secure, and affordable housing for women and their children experiencing violence in BC. While partnering with four pilot communities across BC, the project will research sustainable solutions to local, systemic, and institutional housing barriers for women. As the obstacles are diverse, the project will seek local perspectives from each of the communities to identify opportunities to implement changes at the local and policy levels.
This project is a partnership between the BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH), the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC, the Vancity Community Foundation, and BC Housing. The project is made possible through funding from Status of Women Canada.

Understanding the role of Co-op Housing
The Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) recognizes that housing co-operatives or co-ops can provide affordable homes in safe nurturing communities for women leaving violent relationships. We see co-operative housing as one of the possible sustainable solutions to affordable housing for women experiencing violence. The values, community, and built-in affordability of many housing co-ops, create an ideal partnership for co-ops and transition houses to work together on housing options.

CHF BC’s Domestic Violence Relief Fund was established to assist women who have experienced or who are at risk of abuse, threats, or violence and cannot afford to pay their co-op shares when they move into a housing co-operative. However, since the fund was established, it has been underutilized and women have faced eligibility barriers when applying to join housing co-operatives. Through the participation of local housing co-op members we are seeking to identify ways in which barriers to co-op housing can be reduced for women and how additional supports, including financial supports, can make co-op housing membership a more viable option for them.

Focus Group Learning Goals
• Investigate the general perspectives of local housing co-operatives on the DVRF, barriers to women, and solutions.
• Explore participants’ attitudes towards violence against women and their understanding of the issues.
• Pinpoint specific housing co-op policies and expectations that might be barriers to women experiencing violence.
• Brainstorm future partnerships, models, or outreach ideas to encourage relationships between women experiencing violence and co-op housing.