Examining the Needs and Experiences of Domestic Violence Survivors in Transitional Housing

Dessie Lee Clark, Leila Wood, Cris M. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Transitional Housing (TH) programs were developed for domestic violence (DV) survivors in order to provide the time, financial assistance, and supports needed for survivors to achieve long-term safety and housing stability. Previous research indicates TH may be effective for homeless families, but there is a paucity of evidence related to DV survivors’ need for or use of TH. TH is an expensive housing intervention that is space limited and requires survivors to relocate at program end. It is therefore imperative to understand who is best suited for, interested in, and helped by DVTH. Thirty current survivors in a DVTH program were interviewed in order to elucidate the benefits and drawbacks of DVTH. The interviews were semi-structured, and both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Survivors in severe danger from their abusive partners and ex-partners, those with greater psychosocial needs, and immigrant survivors identified aspects unique to DVTH (e.g., high-level security, intensive services) as being critical to their safety and well-being. A small number of survivors would have chosen a less intensive and structured housing option, such as Rapid Re-housing (RR), that would have allowed them to remain in their housing after assistance ended, had such an option been available. DVTH appears to be an important option for some DV survivors, but more housing options are needed across communities to meet survivors’ myriad needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-286
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Domestic violence
  • Homelessness
  • Housing
  • Rapid re-housing
  • Transitional housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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