New Hope for Women dba New Hope Midcoast
New Hope Midcoast (NHM) provides comprehensive services to residents.
The link between homelessness and domestic abuse is clear. NHM is the Domestic Violence Resource Center in Midcoast Maine and a member of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. We provide a 24/7 helpline, advocacy, support groups, hospital accompaniment, emergency sheltering, transitional housing, and trainings. Other than trainings for mental health providers, services are free to all.
NHM does not have a physical shelter. We use lodging sites. Victims and families can remain in their communities if safe, continue to work, and avoid changing schools. Less disruption in daily living during a stressful time is consistent with current housing models and avoids shelter overcrowding.
In FY19, NHM provided 203 shelter nights for those who chose to flee their circumstances. This spiked to 3,058 nights in FY20. The upsurge continues at 3,311 bed nights in FY21. We have increased our budget to assume this rise in cost. A grant through State Farm Neighborhood Assist will close the gap.
Violent behavior increases during social crises. The combination of medical concerns, childcare issues, food insecurity, access to education, and job insecurity that come with the current pandemic are directly related to an upsurge in violence against women and other minority groups (see UNICEF and several studies). Essential stay-at-home mandates limit mobility while increasing isolation and pressure on relationships that were already volatile.
Midcoast Maine primarily includes rural and island communities. Our clients are frequently disadvantaged socioeconomically, multiply oppressed (i.e. physical disabilities, intellectual challenges) and frequently marginalized. Clients may have children and may have experienced financial control by their partners.
In FY21, NHM spent an unprecedented $93,410.81 on client sheltering when domestic violence rose nation-wide giving rise to the “shadow pandemic.” Unlike previous years when we budgeted $7,500 for sheltering, our FY22 budget is $76,320. An additional $25,000 brings us closer to meeting this vital service.
Domestic abuse drains societies and costs thousands of dollars annually. It leads to lost workdays, increased medical and law enforcement costs, and interferes with a child's ability to learn and to later develop relationships based on respect. It is essential to curb this social justice issue that infiltrates every aspect of a community’s vitality.
NHM works with law enforcement, healthcare providers, schools, animal shelters, lodging sites, jails, and New Ventures Maine to provide victims with the opportunity to work toward financial stability. We also work with towns/cities, the Department of Health and Human Services, landlords, shelters, food banks, and organizations. Local businesses sponsor our annual fundraisers. Our volunteer base is strong.
Gender-based abuse and violence are social justice issues that affect the individual, the family and society as a whole. NHM seeks to transform a culture of oppression into one of safety and acceptance. When we support individuals, we support families. When we help families, we strengthen our work places and our communities for generations to come.