The Clarina Howard Nichols Center’s mission is to end domestic and sexual violence in Lamoille County. Serving approximately 400 individuals annually, we seek to ensure that every person is safe in their home. Our most well-known effort to ensure safety is our emergency shelter. Survivors are provided a safe living environment with access to critical services that allow them to take each new step toward a life free of violence. There are many other ways that Clarina works with survivors to support a safe home environment. Trained advocates engage in safety planning with survivors so they can safely stay in their homes and/or know how and when to leave as needed. Staff provide court advocacy, often with a focus on allowing survivors to safely remain in their homes. Staff complete housing assessments and engage in housing navigation services with survivors who choose not to come into shelter, but need to obtain new safe housing.
Clarina’s role in supporting safety at home has become even more critical during the pandemic. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence are trapped in their homes during the pandemic. Tensions are high due to financial pressures, remote learning for children, and isolation from family and friends. As tensions rise, violence escalates and the opportunities to reach out for help are limited.
Clarina’s services have remained available during this pandemic. Our hotline is answered 24/7 – 802-888-5256. We increased our outreach efforts to ensure that survivors, community members, and non-profit and State partners knew our services were still available. Clarina staff have continued to work with community partners on emergency planning efforts during the pandemic, including supporting expanded emergency shelter options, assisting with food distribution, and engaging with schools about child/family safety during remote learning.
We also issued a plea to the community – You can help. Please check in with your friends, colleagues, and family members. If you suspect that someone is isolated at home with an abusive partner, here are some basic tips:
- Reach out – call, video chat, go for a walk (maintaining social distancing)
- Listen – allow the survivor to share what they want, when they want
- Believe – do not question the survivor about the severity or details of the abuse
- Offer resources – share Clarina’s hotline number, talk about safety planning
- Don’t judge – the survivor knows the safest options for their circumstance
Clarina has a forty year history of supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence. A violence free tomorrow is our vision today. A We Care 2 donation would provide critical funding for our emergency shelter, especially during this time of financial uncertainty that has been created by the pandemic.
“I honestly feel that someone has my back and generally wants us to succeed in all aspects of our lives. She is more than just an advocate to me, she’s like an angel sent to help us through the dark times in my family’s life and I could never thank her enough for everything she is doing for all of us.” – Shelter Guest
A We Care 2 donation would be used to support the operating costs associated with our emergency shelter, including on-site staffing, food, fuel, utilities, insurance, and maintenance. Clarina’s shelter serves between 35 – 50 survivors and their children annually. Shelter stays vary from one night to several months, based upon the needs and circumstances of each survivor. Staff work with shelter guests to develop and achieve goals while providing critical emotional support and connections to community partner organizations.
While Clarina is based in Lamoille County, we provide shelter for survivors from throughout the state. Survivors seek out Clarina’s shelter when staying in their home community is not a safe option. In addition, as the only pet-friendly shelter in the state, survivors are able to bring their companion pets into shelter, which is a critical source of emotional support and ensures the safety of the pets from the abuser.
“When my time comes to leave [the] shelter, it will be very scary. I have never truly been by myself, so it will be a new “adventure” to journey on together. I was fortunate to find a shelter that was “dog friendly.” Had it not been for the staff and shelter, we would be sleeping/living in my car. In a perfect world, there would be no domestic/sexual assaults, but until then, I have been blessed to have my furry companion/therapy dog to help me through what I would otherwise be going through alone. Maybe someday other shelters will follow their example and allow pets in shelters across the country!” – Shelter Guest