NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Women Aware, the designated agency to support victims of domestic violence in Middlesex county, recently opened three apartment units created solely for survivors of domestic abuse.
There is a four-bedroom, three-bedroom, and two-bedroom unit within the same building near the city's downtown. The apartment complex took two years to build and furnish.
Women Aware funded this project through HOME funds from City of New Brunswick and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. They also received a large donation from an individual donor.
Phyllis Adams, Women Aware's executive director, explained that these apartment units help “address all the barriers that keep people in domestic violence” and allows their clients to “move beyond abuse”. As of now, in Middlesex county, “housing is one of the most critical barriers” to overcome with “80% of clients earning less than 10,000 dollars a year”.
Women Aware will place survivors in these housing units as well as provide "wrap around" services such as a personal case worker, counseling, and other services needed depending on the occupant of the apartment.
The average estimated stay in each unit is around three to five years. After leaving the apartment, the client can take all of the furnishings and appliances with them to ease the transition into their next home.
These apartments are part of what Ms. Adams calls “the generational approach” to stopping homelessness. By creating a safe space for children who have been displaced due to domestic violence, Adams said these apartment units are a long-term investment in their future.
Women Aware is critical to the county's efforts to end homelessness.
“Domestic violence is a large factor in homelessness and we need to build capacity for generations to come” said Phyllis Adams.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on October 30. People will be moving into the units as soon as all accommodations are ready.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.