Please note that we refer to the person being abused as a ‘survivor’ rather than a ‘victim’ out of respect for the ability and skills the survivor has in navigating, coping with, and surviving the relationship with the abuser.

Domestic violence is a largely hidden—yet incredibly common and dangerous issue in our community. It can affect anyone, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, religion, income, sexual orientation or marital status.

The YWCA’s Domestic Violence program supports survivors of domestic violence to achieve personal safety, self-sufficiency, and a renewed sense of hope through our services at The Gateway Center, Home Forward, and the Yolanda Project.

Listen to Monica Smith and her daughter Chole Hoag, former Yolanda House residents, tell her story and experiences with domestic violence and the YWCA’s Domestic Violence Services program.

How You Can Help

Donate items such as new linens and blankets, new pots and pans, new small kitchen appliances, supermarket gift cards, or TriMet bus tickets and passes.

Make a monetary donation to help ensure that survivors are connected with the right services at the right time.

Become an advocate for survivors. The YWCA offers workshops for anyone with an interest or desire to drive social change.

Audio: Executive Director Susan Stoltenberg on the YWCA’s Domestic Violence Services

The Yolanda Project

The six domestic violence emergency shelters in our region receive at least six times as many requests for shelter as there are beds available. As a result, one in four homeless women in Portland identify domestic violence as the reason they became homeless in the first place.

To address this alarming need, the YWCA of Greater Portland designed The Yolanda Project in April 2013 with the goal to support survivors of domestic violence to increase their safety, economic security, and housing stability during and immediately following emergency crisis situations.

The Yolanda Project is a unique, ongoing program that diverts pressure on our region’s emergency shelter system by working with survivors of domestic violence at risk of becoming homeless to skip a stay in an emergency shelter and obtain safe, stable housing for themselves and their families. The program offers specialized housing assistance for survivors from The Gateway Center and Home Forward.

Through this program, we:

  • advocate on behalf of—and alongside—survivors with public and private landlords who are wary of offering housing to survivors with minimal resources
  • inform survivors of their legal housing rights and, when appropriate, connect them with pro bono legal services in our community
  • administer rapid re-housing and eviction prevention grants for survivors who need a small amount of assistance to obtain or retain safe housing

Domestic Violence Facts

  • Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, religious group, income, sexual orientation, or marital status.

  • Domestic violence victims lose nearly eight million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.

  • Four million American women are seriously assaulted by a partner each year.

  • In 2012, one quarter of all homicides in the City of Portland were a result of domestic violence.

The Gateway Center

The Gateway Center is the City of Portland’s walk-in center for survivors of domestic violence and their children.

The YWCA has a Navigator and Emergency Advocate co-located at the Gateway Center. The primary role of these staff are to:

  • provide survivors with individually customized safety plans
  • support survivors to retain their housing, or secure alternative emergency housing
  • coordinate motel vouchers and / or rent assistance
  • facilitate housing referrals and address confidentiality programs
  • facilitate access to emergency clothing, food, and personal care supplies
  • provide advocacy for court-ordered protection
  • provide transition, life skills, and on going support to survivors

The Gateway Center acts as a one-stop-shop for survivors of domestic violence, ensuring that survivors are connected with the right services at the right time.

Home Forward

Home Forward (previously the Housing Authority of Portland) is a public corporation serving all of Multnomah County, including the cities of Gresham, Fairview, Portland, and Troutdale, and other East County communities.  As the largest provider of affordable housing in Oregon, Home Forward offers a variety of housing options to low-income individuals and families. Home Forward has a special responsibility to those who encounter barriers to housing because of income, disability, or special need.

The YWCA has two Emergency Advocates co-located at Home Forward. The primary role of these staff are to support survivors of domestic violence to retain their housing, or secure alternative emergency housing during times of crisis.

Domestic Violence Resources