When WTLC was founded in 1976, the response to serving survivors was to have them leave their home and community and enter a shelter in secrecy where they would rebuild their lives and identities. As domestic violence came to the forefront of our societal landscape, extensive research and evaluation was conducted to understand the root causes and needs of survivors.
Although shelter services are still an essential component to supporting survivors, what we learned was that 44% of survivors in California did not want to have to enter a shelter program in order to have access to services to create a healthier and safer life. What this communicated was the landscape of response to survivors needed to expand beyond the traditional methodologies established in the 1970’s and incorporate this new approach.
In 2017, WTLC moved its shelter program and converted the building on Amerige into WTLC’s Center, a place for both survivors in our housing program and those in our community to access the services they need to establish a safe life. Our services now reach over 1,100 survivors in the community a year, a population that was not being served prior to 2017.
WTLC’s Center provides a wide range of services in an interactive and safe environment. We offer a 24/7 help and text line to support survivors in crisis, answer community members’ questions about our work, consult with concerned family members, schedule presentations, or refer to another partner. Because many services at WTLC involve discussions of trauma and past abuse, it can be potentially harmful for children of survivors to attend services alongside their parent. Because of this concern, our children’s program provides separate child supervision and age-appropriate engagement activities, which allows parents/guardians to participate freely in services without having to edit their communication to protect their child.
Our educational programs are designed for our youngest to our oldest participants and include homework help, computer literacy classes, parenting support, healthy masculinity peer support, life skills, supervised visitation, and more. To ensure survivors are getting all of their emotional and physical needs met, we have expanded our holistic program offering a gardening workshop called Bloom and Grow, trauma-informed yoga and meditation, and animal assisted therapy.
As domestic violence and human trafficking survivors’ priorities evolve, it is critical that we as a service provider also continue to evolve our approaches. Survivors are the experts in their stories and healing journeys, and it is our responsibility to listen, learn, and adapt if we are ever going to end the cycle of violence, together.
For more information about our programs, services, or ways to get involved call our Helpline at 877-531-5522.