SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco Mayor London Breed and District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Thursday they're teaming up with the city's largest landlord Veritas Investments to provide temporary housing for survivors of domestic violence during the novel coronavirus crisis.
With the city's stay-at-home order now entering its fourth week, the mayor's office said for people experiencing domestic violence, their homes may not be the safest place.
Through the collaboration between city officials, Veritas and domestic violence advocates, the city was able to secure 20 furnished apartments, with the possibility of more on the way.
"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," Boudin said in a statement. "Now more than ever we must work to ensure that the most vulnerable of our victims have a place to shelter free from abuse."
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
"While staying at home except for essential needs is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, it isn't the safest option for everyone," Breed said.
"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," she said.
Under the plan, domestic violence agencies will refer clients directly as needed, based on availability for survivors and their families, including pets. They can then stay in the apartments for up to 90 days at no cost. The apartments, which will be located in several secure buildings throughout the city, will be ready by the end of the week, according to the mayor's office.
"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, Veritas Investments CEO and founder.
"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," Kathy Black, executive director of San Francisco-based advocacy organization La Casa de las Madres said.
During the shelter order's first week, Boudin's office reported an initial 60 percent increase in clients referred to its victim service division, compared to the same week in 2019. In the shelter order's second week, the office saw a 33 percent decrease in new client referrals.
In an emergency, domestic violence survivors are encouraged to call 911. Hotlines and more resources for those needing assistance can be found at https://sfgov.org/dosw/violence-against-women-prevention-and-intervention-grants-program-0.
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