Domestic violence is not only fear of physical harm that keeps a woman captive. It is also a matter of financial and emotional control. Financial abuse can take several forms, including preventing a woman from holding a job, forcing her to hand over her paycheck, or using her name for credit purposes. While many agencies do what they can to address the immediate safety needs of victims, Next Door Solutions recognizes that helping women solve these economic challenges will lead them down a path of health and safety, free from a life of abuse.
Next Door Solution’s self-sufficiency program empowers victims to go from a state of surviving to thriving. As part of the program, women attend a 12 week workshop series that focuses on empowering clients to become independent from their abusers. Additionally, clients receive one-on-one time with self-sufficiency advocates that help them acquire employment and achieve financial stability.
In partnership with Start Some Good, Next Door is hoping to create a computer lab for the clients of the self-sufficiency program. In this lab, victims will have the opportunity to participate in computer classes, be granted safe and secure access to the internet away from the watchful eye of their batterer, and will be provided with resume and cover letter programs and internet resources which will help navigate them towards a life of independence and autonomy over their own lives.
In 1971, a group of activists concerned about violence they and others experienced joined together to start a hotline and refuge for victims of domestic violence and their children. This refuge, the Shelter Next Door, began in a garage in San Jose, California. It was the second domestic violence shelter program in California and the first shelter offering bilingual English-Spanish services in that nation. In that garage began Next Door’s 24 hour crisis hotline, the number of which has remained unchanged for 34 years.
In 2011, Next Door was awarded a grant by the Avon Foundation for women meant to fund services that promote self-sufficiency. The self-sufficiency programs funded by this grant include a resource library for clients and advocates, STRONG workshops meant to educate and empower women, and the innovative usage of SKYPE technology which helps connect victims with advocates housed in outside agencies. This program offered by Next Door is truly the first of its kind.