Domestic Violence and Homelessness

Flash and glamour of the NFL and casino hotels notwithstanding, domestic violence is usually a private occurrence, its victims often isolated and confused.  Mostly it takes place in the home, far from the revealing eye of the camera.  One in four women will become a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime, making it one of our most underreported crimes.  Domestic violence is also a leading cause of homelessness among women and families with the 2012 Wilder survey, reporting nearly 1/3rd of homelessness among women a direct result of domestic abuse.  In Greater Minnesota, it is even higher.

As a non-profit funder of domestic violence shelters, we have had the opportunity to meet and talk with staff, volunteers, and residents of shelters across Minnesota.  I find much hope and perseverance among the victims and amazing dedication of the hard working staff, many of whom have been victimized themselves.   But I also too often hear of the many barriers victims face in finding the help necessary to escape a violent life.  It starts with the simple availability of safe and supportive shelters which, especially in rural areas and on reservations, can be few and far between.  Too often I have heard from women who have finally found the courage or opportunity to flee only to find shelters were far from home and often full.  In fact, according to the Wilder Survey, 48% of women stay in an abusive situation because they had no other housing option.  To understand that danger, consider that more than 1/3rd of murdered women are killed by their intimate partner.  Shelters save lives and must be available and accessible.

Most troubling, the systems in place to help victims often exasperate the problem.  Many workers and clients tell of experiences with indifferent law enforcement and reluctant prosecutors.  Victims often believe Orders of Protection will only heighten their risk so the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that just 20% of domestic violence victims seek them.  And since approximately half of orders are violated, according to the Department of Justice, it’s not surprising victims are reluctant to file.  Nearly all moms tell of their fear of losing custody of their children if they must flee an abusive home, with one young mother in northern Minnesota telling of local child protection services warning her that if she fled and left her children in an abusive home she risked losing custody.  So for too long, she stayed.

To be sure, most police, prosecutors, and social services want to do the right thing and are outraged about domestic violence.   Most are excellent resources for shelters and the women and children they serve and have saved countless lives.  Domestic violence is a crime and like any crime it is not the victims fault.   That message can’t be overstated.

Men in particular need to take action because they can help break the cycle of abuse so common in families.  The CDC reports that children who witness abuse in the home, where at least 60% of domestic violence occurs, are much more likely both to abuse and be abused as adults.

Domestic Violence can be visible – the celebrity athlete abuser caught on camera or the woman who shows up to work with a black eye, or discreet.   Either way it is not a problem that will go away by itself.  Nor is it the responsibility of the victims to do what it takes to end this crime.  Please, talk to your children.  Reach out to a victim or perpetrator you might know.  Support shelters that offer front line crisis services to victims.  Be part of the solution.

Tap into Your Heart with us on September 10th

Join us on September 10th at Fulton Brewery in Downtown Minneapolis from 4pm-7pm to learn more about Open Your Heart and the state of hunger and homelessness in Minnesota.

Tap into your Heart PDF Flyer Final

Do you know how many people will be homeless in Minnesota tonight?

Do you know how many trips to Minnesota food shelves there will be today?

Do you have connections with people who are as passionate as you are about alleviating hunger and homelessness?

You will after this event!

Door prizes will be announced at 5pm and 6pm, so be sure to get there early.

RSVP here or on Facebook.

 

BIG thank you to our partners!

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North Loop Fall Crawl – Sept 12th-13th

The North Loop Fall Crawl has chosen Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless as their highlighted charity! North Loop Craw Education Flyer

All participating stores will be accepting school supplies and donations for Youth in Shelters around the Twin Cities.

In the North Loop of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Friday and Saturday, September 12th and 13th, from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Shopping maps and entry forms are available at the 11 participating stores. Go to their Facebook page for information on how to win the $500 shopping spree with Ali Kaplan from Shop Girls, 107.1 Visit 8 of the 11 participating stores and you will qualify for the grand prize worth $500.

According to Ashley Kilcher from Roe Wolfe, “ This is an opportunity for us as store owners to highlight both our stores as well as, this exciting and dynamic neighborhood, the North Loop. “We are proud of the feel of the neighborhood and we are working as a community to make it an exciting destination for shoppers, diners as well as entertainment.” Says, Pam Pappas Stanoch, owner of C’est Chic Boutique.

Come and explore the North Loop, Friday and Saturday, September 12th and 13th from 10-9.

Participating Stores: C’est Chic Boutique, D’Nolo, Jeremeo, Local D’Lish, Lolë, martinpatrick 3, Ribnick’s, Roe Wolfe, Shoesters, Statement, Stephen Vincent Design

Fifth Annual
Open Your Heart Summer Challenge

door-1 - CHUM Food Shelf

The Open Your Heart Summer Challenge began on July 1st.

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless will make a proportional match to donations to participating food shelves during the month of July, up to $5,000. The more funds food shelves raise in July, the larger the matching grant from Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless will be. Minnesota food shelves raised over $1,400,000 last year with this grant and hope to outdo that this year!

Check out the buzz:

Morrison County Record

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Area Star Eagle

Fillmore County Journal

Hometown Focus

KIMT

“We depend upon the generosity of our community, we don’t have huge corporations that funnel excessive dollars in, so when we get these opportunities for these sizable grants, these $5,000 matching grants, we really try to capitalize on them,” said Captain Jim Brickson of the Albert Lea Salvation Army.

Princeton Union-Eagle

Public News Service

Ed Murphy is executive director of the group Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless, which is putting on the challenge along with Hunger Solutions Minnesota. He said demand on food shelves increases during the summer, when children who receive free or reduced-priced school lunches are at home. “Summer is also not a good time for food shelves in terms of securing donations,” said Murphy. “People are busy with their summer plans and vacations. It’s historically a time that food shelves have very low donations. So this is an important time to be adding some funds into food shelves, where they can better meet their growing needs.” 

Pilot-Independent

Marshall Independent

Welcome to the New Open Your Heart Website!

We are saying good-bye to our old website and hello to the 21st century!

Old wesbite screen shot
Bye, old website!

We hope you find our new home easier to use and more tailored to your needs. We’ve created the site to be as intuitive as possible, but if you can’t find anything, please let us know, you’re probably not the only one.

The only major change for those applying for grants is that we have done away with the “Grant Guidelines” document and tailored it to each grant on their respective pages. Otherwise, the process is the same.

Take a look around! And again, please let us know if you have any questions.