Improving Safe Housing Access for Domestic Violence Survivors Through Systems Change

Shanti Joy Kulkarni, Suzanne Marcus, Cristina Cortes, Carielle Escalante, Leila Wood, Rachel Fusco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Domestic violence (DV) survivors often encounter serious barriers navigating between housing and homelessness (H/H), coordinated entry (CE), and DV service systems to access safe housing. This study examined an innovative program that deployed DV coordinators as systems change agents liaising between H/H services, DV programs, and CES to increase survivors’ safe housing access. Five listening sessions were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide to explore key stakeholders’ perspectives about the potential impact of he DV coordinator program. Transcripts were thematically coded and then member checked. Primary themes included: (a) training, consultation, and brokering relationships to advance systems reforms; (b) adapting to community contexts; and (c) bringing survivors’ voices to funders and policymakers. Cross-sector training was an important program outcome. However, meaningful systems changes were not likely to occur through training activities alone. Community partners benefited from responsive real-time consultation, as well as coaching and support to address survivors’ needs in a trauma-informed manner. Relationship building and networking encouraged cross-sector collaborations and creative pragmatic solutions to complicated survivor needs. Findings underscored the complementary nature of direct service and systems advocacy and the importance of having service providers, like DV housing navigators working parallel with DV systems change advocates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-428
Number of pages15
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2023


  • Domestic violence
  • safe housing
  • systems advocacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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