COVID-19’s Impact on Housing among Black Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

September 22, 2022

In 2020, Assistant Professor Tiara Willie partnered with Ujima, Inc: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community to understand how Black women who are survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) obtain and maintain affordable, safe, and stable housing in the midst of violence, the COVID-19 pandemic and structural racism. They conducted 50 semi-structured interviews with Black women IPV survivors to identify recommendations to strengthen housing policies, programs and funding priorities to meet their needs.   

Here are what some of the women said: 

  • "We've moved two times since COVID because of financial reasons like I'm not making the money I used to make."
  • "I would suggest that they make a law or pass a bill proposing that people who are actually going through domestic violence situations are given help with everything that they need so they can get on their feet."
  • "Then I think [non-profit organization] helped me pay my rent at that time. Right now, of course, I’m not because they’re payin’ my rent so that leaves me extra money to do what I need to do."

Overall, the interviews surfaced three overarching themes related to participants experiences with housing:

  1. Black women lost their jobs or had hours cut back significantly which jeopardized their housing. 
  2. Some Black women experienced economic abuse and predatory property owners which also impacted their housing stability.  
  3. Black women also experienced sexual abuse to avoid evictions. 

Black women survivors of IPV offered several policy and practice recommendations to improve their lives and wellbeing. One example is a “Second Chance Program” that would provide women with safe adequate housing regardless of credit history. “Second Chance Programs” could make a significant impact in survivors’ lives as compromised credit histories are often a consequence of economic abuse.  

Dr. Willie and her team are now focusing on research dissemination. They participated in The American Health PodcastWYPR’s Midday, and gave a Policy & Research briefing to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence in October, 2021. This work will also be incorporated into Dr. Willie’s future Bloomberg School of Public Health course using intersectionality to address how interlocking systems of power and oppression shape health outcomes among survivors of intimate partner violence.  

Stay Connected to the Initiative

Receive all the latest news from the Initiative by following us on Twitter, signing up for the American Health Dispatch newsletter, subscribing to the American Health Podcast, and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Contact Us