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Lydia’s House: A Safe Place for Help and to Heal

A critical stepping stone between shelter and permanent housing, Lydia’s House helps domestic violence survivors find their voice through cost-free transitional housing and resources to reach safe, independent living.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. While thousands of calls are made to domestic violence hotlines daily, FBI data shows these crimes are among the most underreported.

When an individual can remove themselves from an abusive situation, the next 24 months are critical in terms of their safety and independence from the abuser. While shelters are a great immediate resource, long-term solutions help survivors reclaim financial independence and permanent housing. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1995, Lydia’s House provides 50 fully furnished transitional housing apartments throughout St. Louis and surrounding areas. In 2023 alone, Lydia’s House served 52 adults and 59 children, providing 26,245 safe bed nights.   

“Every survivor has their own experience, and every experience is different. There’s not just one way to navigate every domestic violence situation,” says Karen Kirk, CEO. “Our goal is to work toward moving from victim to survivor.”

Breaking Down Barriers 

At Lydia’s House, anticipating roadblocks then providing a way around them is key. The organization provides financial resources, an in-house medical clinic, orders of protection, therapy, and support groups along with other needed resources. Those without a car can access transportation services, and Lydia’s Ladle - a USDA - certified social enterprise kitchen - provides immediate income, job training, and a secure place of employment. 

However, survivors often do not come alone. Many programs available to survivors—such as therapy, support groups, and health care options extend to children as well. Child-specific growth centered accommodations include support groups, an after-school program, and summer activities. 

When Kirk and her team became aware of an additional barrier that prevents victims from leaving out of fear for their pet’s safety, Lydia’s House, once again, stepped up. In 2018, the nonprofit partnered with Purina and the Purple Leash Project to convert apartments into pet-friendly accommodations. The dedication of Lydia’s House in serving domestic violence survivors has earned Lydia’s House Vizient’s 2023 Norman Borlaug Humanitarian Award.

The goal for the future? Providing safety and resources to as many survivors as possible. As a member of MoCADSV, which helps pass laws, improve public policy, and secure funding for agencies serving survivors, Lydia’s House continues its mission to provide survivors and their children a safe place to heal, a voice for justice, and an opportunity for better and sustainable lives.

“Abuse can happen to anyone,” says Kirk. “It’s a successful time at Lydia’s House when a survivor finds their voice that was taken away by the abuser.”

Making a Plan 

Leaving a violent relationship is a complex matter. Safety is critical. Lydia’s House recommends a safety plan that is unique to each victim. Know where to go, and have important documents, medicine, and funds available in a secure location, making it easier to leave. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. For resources, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE.

Contact Info:
Name: Karen Kirk
Email: Send Email
Organization: Lydia's House
Address: PO Box 2722 Saint Louis, MO 63116
Phone: 314-808-2816

Release ID: 89125795

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