In Summit County, Step III is our long term community based housing program. The clients who have successfully worked on their life goals during stays at the Crisis Center, Step II, or who have worked with our Family Stability Program, can ask to be referred to the Step III program. Step III helps clients gain independence and self-sufficiency by requiring, client involvement, steady employment, and continuing education or non-traditional employment training, while BWS assists with rent and associated living expenses.
Scattered site apartments (chosen by the residents) are located throughout Summit County. Through HUD dollars, we are able to financially support the residents WITH EVERY EXPENSE THEY HAVE FOR A PERIOD OF UP TO TWO YEARS. This is a true transitional program. Along with financial assistance, we provide regular case management and monthly self-determination workshops. Topics such as resume writing, interviewing skills, financial planning, health and wellness, energy saving tips for your homes, career exploration, and empowerment, are just some life skills explored.
The goal of Step III is to allow the women to become emotionally and financially independent from the abuser and from government assistance during their time in the Step III program. The residents choose the apartments or homes in locations where they wish to remain throughout their lives. Our staff slowly back out of the women's lives as they become emotionally stronger and healthier. The financial support is slowly lowered as the residents gain more and more financial independence, and begin to pay off debt and direct personal earnings into a savings account.
Any client threatened by violence during her Step III involvement will be moved to the Crisis Center or Step II immediately. She will remain in shelter until her continued safety is assured.
The Step III program is innovative because, in the end, the supportive services will be removed while the clients are permitted and encouraged to remain in their established residences. The structure allows an easier transition to independence while helping to ensure that our residents are able to live self-confidently in a violence free environment.
To be eligible for Step III, a client must:
- Have successfully participated in the Battered Women's Shelter programs within the last 60 days.
- Have actively explored options for housing, including applying for Section 8 and AMHA.
- Have chosen to end the violent relationship through divorce, legal separation, protection order or other types of court action.
- Have acquired and are currently attending employment, education, counseling, and other independent living necessities.