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SU CASA Director of Development & Community Outreach Dean Lockwood is pictured at their Walk-In Resource Center in Long Beach. The nonprofit has partnered with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office to house 100 domestic abuse survivors in hotel rooms during COVID-19. If you need legal help with domestic violence cases, you can check out this Source. Su Casa is in their second year of their Domestic Violence Housing First Program, to help victims escaping abusive relationship who are faced with housing insecurity. Photo by Laurie Hanson.  



Nationally, domestic violence increased by 20 percent since COVID-19 states the lawyers from https://criminaldefenselawfirmtampa.com/domestic-violence/. At the beginning of the pandemic, Su Casa of Long Beach partnered with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to place more than 100 survivors into hotels, while also offering another on-going program.

“As communities shut down, many people were without work and confined to their homes with their abusers,” said Director of Development & Community Outreach Dean Lockwood, who has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 30 years, and has been with Su Casa since 2017.

“As more people became unemployed, lack of money became a trigger and brought about greater instances of domestic violence,” he explained. It was out of these sobering facts that Su Casa and the L.A. Mayor’s Office partnered to help curb pandemic-related domestic violence as it is difficult to find lawyers for domestic violence charges around their area.

Lockwood’s greatest message to survivors is, “You are not alone, and you can find compassionate support.”

Su Casa who has acquired the lawyer’s help with domestic violence charges serves all adult survivors and their children regardless of race, sex, religion, or economic status. Though focused on the Long Beach area, they frequently receive people from all over Southern California and even out of state. Their only qualification is to be impacted by domestic violence. Through outreach and education, their 24/7 Crisis Hotline, emergency shelter and transitional shelter they carry out their purpose.

“Our mission is to empower individuals and families to live free from domestic abuse, and to build partnerships with communities to end domestic violence,” Lockwood said.

Forty-one years ago, the nonprofit was the vision of one woman, Petra Meledez, who herself survived domestic violence. Out of frustration with the services available to her, she started housing families escaping abusive relationships in her home. Eventually she donated her home to the city she resided in with the condition that be used for a domestic violence shelter. It was out of this that Su Casa was born, according to Lockwood.

Su Casa has two shelters. Their emergency shelter is in a home and provides immediate housing and support for families in need. Survivors can reside there for up to 45 days while receiving counseling, medical services, legal support, work and housing assistance. Their transitional shelter is in an apartment complex.

“Both shelters are operating full speed during the pandemic,” said Lockwood. “We have had to make significant changes to our procedures due to COVID-19. To keep the shelters free from outside contaminates, we have instituted new procedures.”

“New participants are provided a room in a local hotel for a period of 14 days,” continued Lockwood. “We’ve extended the stay of survivors due to the difficulty of securing permanent housing. Many of the participants who held employment were furloughed and case management staff has assisted them in obtaining emergency benefits.”A special key program in its second year at Su Casa is their Domestic Violence Housing First Program, where participants come to the nonprofit in a situation where domestic violence creates housing insecurity.

“After an assessment interview, we work with the participants to help resolve the housing issue to keep them in their current home or to help find other housing,” explained Lockwood. “We work with real estate professionals so that they understand the issues that may have caused the housing problems in the past and we stand with our participants. When the housing issues have been resolved, we then provide supportive services, such as domestic violence counseling, job search assistance, childcare, and more.”

In light of COVID-19, Su Casa currently takes a “zero contact approach,” where all communications with clients are conducted by phone or video calls, and that any items given to them are sanitized and placed in an isolated room where they can pick them up later.

“All counseling, both individual and groups, are provided now through video conferencing methods,” said Lockwood. “Children’s play time, counseling, and tutoring is done outside, with appropriate spacing to ensure safe distancing.”

Though their Walk-In Resource Center and administrative offices are closed now due to the pandemic, they continue to take general inquiries, offer referrals and information while keeping their shelters open.  For more information about their teleconferencing video services, please call 562-421-6537. Their 24/7 Crisis Hotline is available by calling 562-402-4888.

Su Casa receives most of their funding through governmental and private grants along with support from the cities they serve, and from private donations. For more information or to contribute to their efforts, please visit online at sucasadv.org.

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