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Join us at our next event! Upcoming Events Week of Harvesting Hope! Fri, Oct 23 Online Event Oct 23, 10:00 AM – Oct 30, 11:00 PM Online Event A new take on DOVE's annual gala! Join us virtually for a week-long celebration of DOVE's programs & services. Share View Website!
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YOUR DONATIONS COUNT DOVE needs your support. More than 50% of the organization’s operating budget comes from private contributions. Your tax-deductible donation has a direct and positive impact on all those who come through the doors of our shelter and Outreach & Family Services Center. All donations are most appreciated by both DOVE’s staff and the women, children and men served during a time of great crisis and turmoil. We thank you in advance for your generosity! DOVE Inc. is approved as an IRS 501(c) non-profit organization. Tax Identification Number: 04-2667808 DONATE NOW
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- DOVE's Support of the Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty Bill
July 20, 2020 The Honorable Robert F. DeLeo The Honorable Karen Spilka Speaker, House of Representatives President, Senate The Honorable Aaron Michlewitz The Honorable Michael Rodrigues Chair, House Ways and Means Committee Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee Dear Mr. Speaker, Madam President, Chair Michlewitz and Chair Rodrigues: Thank you for the work you are doing to address the consequences of the public health pandemic in Massachusetts. I am writing to urge you to enact the bills to Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty (House 102, Senate 36), which would set a floor for cash assistance benefits at 50% of the federal poverty level. DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), Inc., is a comprehensive, multi-service provider based in Quincy, MA, and serving 17 cities and towns immediately south of Boston. DOVE specializes in domestic violence and teen dating violence survivor services and prevention programming. DOVE operates a 24-hour hotline and emergency shelter, and also provides a broad range of community-based services, including supportive counseling and advocacy, civilian advocacy in partnership with eight area police departments, legal services, community outreach and education, and teen dating violence prevention and awareness programs. These bills are important to DOVE given the situations most survivors of domestic violence face. Many are trapped in homes with an abusive partner because of the financial barriers to leaving and the risks they face of plummeting into poverty without solid economic supports to enable their safe separation from an abuser. The majority of survivors we work with are indigent or at best financially vulnerable and making decisions for themselves and their children about their physical and emotional safety and well-being in a home with an abusive partner, vs. financial viability if they leave. Financial stress is also a key factor in survivors’ decisions to reunite with abusive partners. We must address these barriers that survivors face in pursuit of safety for themselves and their children. Currently, DOVE is working with an indigent client who has a five (5) year-old child and an infant with her abusive partner. Despite experiencing years of physical and verbal abuse, our client continues to remain with her abuser because she is unable to afford to provide for her children and herself without her abuser’s added income. With the solid economic support that would exist if Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty was enacted, our client would have the means to afford both rent and groceries to meet the needs of herself and her children. A yearly increase in the cash aid grants for this family of three, and others like her, would ensure that our client could continue to meet her family’s financial needs as inflation rises. This indigent client is one of the many that DOVE serves, and will continue to serve, that faces financial vulnerability. These bills are necessary in assisting DOVE to empower and provide hope and healing to survivors looking for support and resources as they seek safety. Currently, the maximum cash aid grant for a family of three is $593/month. This is less than one-third of the federal poverty level. The bills would raise grants by 10% each year until they reach Deep Poverty – half of the federal poverty level. Then grants would go up by a small amount each year to keep pace with inflation as the Deep Poverty level goes up. TAFDC grants have lost half their value since 1988. Meanwhile, even before the current public health crisis, the cost of basic necessities like toilet paper, diapers and children's Tylenol had doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. For cash assistance family – who have no resources to fall back on – the stress of not being able to meet basic needs exacerbates the stress everyone is experiencing because of pandemic. We understand that the Commonwealth is facing a revenue shortfall as well as increased costs because of the pandemic. The bills to Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty would raise grants slowly to mitigate the budget impact. However, we should not wait any longer to begin addressing the painfully low grants that harm our children. We urge you to take action during this session to put Massachusetts on a path to doing what is right for our lowest income families. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Sue Chandler, MPH, MSW Executive Director
- DOVE's In Support of Providing For Gender Neutral Designation on State Documents & Identifications
JOINT COMMITTEE ON STATE ADMINISTRATION and REGULATORY OVERSIGHT TESTIMONY OF DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), Inc. IN SUPPORT OF H. 3664 An Act providing for a gender neutral designation on state documents and identifications Dear Chairperson Pacheco, Chairperson Gregoire, and members of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight: Thank you for bringing to the attention of the Massachusetts House of Representatives the Act providing for a gender neutral designation on state documents and identifications. This legislation would enable non-binary people to obtain identification that accurately reflects their gender identity. House 3664 is in line with the 2016 passage of the Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination, and will take the necessary next step of fostering greater safety and equality for non-binary people who identify as neither male nor female. DOVE, Inc. fully supports passage of House 3644. My name is Sarah Karerat, and I am the LGBQ/T Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator at DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), Inc., a multi-service organization providing comprehensive direct services and support for victims of dating and domestic violence of all genders. Our efforts address the isolation and vulnerability faced by survivors of domestic violence and the enormous emotional, psychological, and financial toll violence takes on victims, their children, and the community. The comments below draw from our observations of the lived experiences of the survivors with whom we have worked. Passing House 3644 is an integral step in recognizing and welcoming the ways in which people live beyond the traditional gender binary. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines “sex” in the Affordable Care Act to include “gender identity,” referring to “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.” The National Center for Transgender Equality notes: “People whose gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being one of the most common. Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bi-gender, and more.” Importantly, 35% of the 28,000 individuals across the United States who responded to the 2015 US Transgender Survey identified as non-binary or genderqueer. This survey also detailed the experiences of transgender and non-binary respondents from Massachusetts specifically, and noted that 61% reported that none of their identity documents corresponded with their gender identity. Having identification documents that reflect one’s true identity enables non-binary people to publicly represent themselves in a way that corresponds with their internal sense of self. Furthermore, of the 1,195 transgender and non-binary individuals from Massachusetts surveyed in the 2015 US Transgender Survey, nearly one-third (32%) who have shown identification documents with a name or gender marker that did not correspond with their presentation reported having negative experiences, such as harassment, denial of services, and/or being attacked. In DOVE’s work, we have seen astonishingly high rates of domestic abuse experienced in the transgender and non-binary communities, with the lifetime prevalence of domestic violence for transgender and non-binary individuals at 54%. In every abusive relationship, the means and impact of abuse are shaped by the identities which a survivor embodies, and this holds true for survivors in the non-binary community. Creating wider acceptance for and affirmation of non-binary individuals through identification that corresponds with one’s true gender identity allows greater potential for autonomy rather than violence. By reducing the harm of oppression on non-binary people, we leave less room for abusers to use their identity against them in isolation, threatening to “out” them, or other forms of harm. Fourteen states – including New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont – and the District of Columbia have already passed laws or regulations enabling people to choose a neutral gender marker on their identity documents. It is DOVE’s hope that Massachusetts will join them by passing House 3644 as we do our part to bring about greater respect and dignity for non-binary people throughout the state. Sincerely, Sue Chandler, MPH, MSW Sarah Karerat Executive Director LGBQ/T Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator  An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination, S.735, Sess. of 2016 (Mass. 2011).  “Definitions,” Code of Federal Regulations, title 45: 561-563, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2018-title45-vol1/pdf/CFR-2018-title45-vol1-chapA.pdf  “Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive,” National Center for Transgender Equality, last modified October 5, 2018, https://transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-non-binary-people-how-to-be-respectful-and-supportive  S.E. James et. al, “The Report of the 2015 US Transgender Survey” (Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality, 2016), 45.  “2015 US Transgender Survey: Massachusetts State Report” (Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality, 2017), 3.  “2015 US Transgender Survey: Massachusetts State Report.”  James et. al, “The Report of the 2015 US Transgender Survey,” 15.
- DOVE's support of right to counsel in eviction cases & sealing of eviction records
January 28, 2020 Honorable James Eldridge Honorable Claire Cronin Senate Chair, House Chair, Joint Committee on Judiciary Joint Committee on Judiciary State House, Room 320 State House, Room 136 Boston, MA 02133 Boston, MA 02133 Re: S. 913 An Act to ensure right to counsel in eviction proceedings H. 3456 An Act to ensure right to counsel in eviction proceedings H.1537 An Act establishing a right to counsel in certain eviction cases S. 824 The HOMES Act H. 3566 The HOMES Act Dear Chairman Eldridge, Chairwoman Cronin, and Members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary: We are writing on behalf of DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended), Inc. in support of right to counsel in eviction cases (H. 3456, H. 1537, S. 913) and in support of sealing of eviction records, the HOMES Act (S. 824 and H. 3566). At DOVE, we believe that all people have the right to live without fear of abuse, and we work to make this a reality. Since our founding in 1978, DOVE has expanded from a crisis hotline to a multi-service organization providing comprehensive direct services and support for victims of dating and domestic violence, as well as their children throughout Norfolk County, Massachusetts and neighboring cities. DOVE’s services include emergency shelter, legal advocacy and representation, crisis intervention, risk assessment and safety planning, supportive counseling, and community outreach, education, and training. DOVE clients often face housing emergencies as a result of the abuse they suffer, including facing eviction due to circumstances caused by the abuse. While M.G.L. ch. 186 §§ 23-29 provides domestic violence survivors with the right to break their lease and have their locks changed, it does not guarantee protection from eviction as a result of violence they have experienced.  Unfortunately, as reflected in the stories of the clients we serve, evictions based on circumstances created by domestic violence are all too common. Survivors are often evicted after they obtain a restraining order ordering their abuser out of the home, as they are unable to continue paying rent. Survivors often suffer severe physical injuries as a result of violence that cause them to miss time at work, resulting in job loss and inability to pay rent. Abusers also often cause damage to an apartment during an incident of abuse, and survivors are evicted as a result. Our local courthouse, Quincy District Court, saw 1,076 summary process (eviction) cases filed in fiscal year 2019. This is more than double the number of summary process cases filed in any other district court in the Commonwealth. In addition, the housing court serving our district saw 2,328 summary process cases filed in fiscal year 2019. DOVE is very concerned, based on our experience working with survivors, that domestic violence is the underlying reason for many of these evictions. The number of eviction cases in our region is staggering, and as the only domestic violence-specific legal services program in our area, we cannot meet even a fraction of the need for representation in these cases. The vast majority of survivors being evicted, like 92% of tenants statewide, cannot obtain legal representation. These survivors often end up homeless as a result of the abuse. Moreover, once eviction cases are filed against them, survivors have eviction records that follow them for the rest of their lives. Prospective landlords often refuse to rent to anyone with any eviction record, regardless of the type of eviction or the reason behind it. This makes it nearly impossible for survivors to find new housing and move on with their lives. For example, DOVE recently represented a survivor who was being evicted for breaking a window in her apartment. The window had been broken, however, when the survivor – fleeing on foot with her young daughter after being assaulted by her abuser – arrived home only to find that she had left her cell phone, wallet and keys behind when she fled. With no way to enter her apartment or call the management office, and after nobody else in the building answered their doorbell, the survivor was forced to break her own window to enter the safety of her own home. While she and her child were momentarily safe, the management company brought an eviction case against them, alleging that the survivor violated her lease by breaking the window, even though she had offered to replace it at her own expense. With DOVE’s representation, the eviction case was able to be converted from a “for cause” case to a “no fault” case, which allowed the survivor to retain her housing voucher, and the survivor obtained three additional months to look for housing. The landlord also agreed to remove the survivor’s young child’s name from the eviction records. Without representation, the survivor and her child would likely have been homeless immediately. The child would have had an eviction record that would have followed her for the rest of her life, despite the fact that at the time of eviction she was not legally old enough to rent an apartment herself. Even with representation however, the survivor still has a lifelong eviction record, and is having a difficult time finding new housing as a result. DOVE wholeheartedly supports the Right to Counsel (RTC) Coalition’s recommendation that pulls together provisions from the right to counsel bills currently before the Joint Committee. This bill would guarantee representation in eviction cases to survivors who qualify, and would help to level the playing field between tenants and landlords. This bill would have life-changing consequences for our clients: with representation, they would be much less likely to become homeless as a result of the abuse they have suffered. DOVE also wholeheartedly supports the HOMES Act, which would provide for eviction sealing. This would protect survivors who obtain eviction records following incidences of domestic violence, and would also protect their children who are frequently named in eviction cases. Survivors, like the DOVE client discussed above, would have an easier time finding alternative housing and regaining stability and safety following the abuse they suffered. Both of these bills would have tremendous implications for our clients, and would allow them to move forward with more stability. Nobody who has suffered violence should become homeless as a result of it. Therefore, we urge you to report these bills out favorably and advocate for their passage. Respectfully submitted, Sue Chandler, MPH, MSW Lily Ann Ritter, Esq. Executive Director Housing & Benefits Staff Attorney Cc: Representative Joe Kennedy III Representative Stephen Lynch Representative Jim McGovern Representative Ayanna Pressley Senator Ed Markey Senator Elizabeth Warren  M.G.L. ch. 186 §§ 23-29: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleI/Chapter186/Section23  District Court Department, Fiscal Year 2019, Filings by Division: https://www.mass.gov/doc/total-filings-by-court-location-18/download  District Court Department, Fiscal Year 2019, Filings by Division: https://www.mass.gov/doc/total-filings-by-court-location-18/download  Housing Court Department, Fiscal Year 2019 Statistics: https://www.mass.gov/doc/filings-and-dispositions-by-court-location-3/download