What We Do
WHO WE ARE:
The Bernie House is a part of the solution to those made homeless due to domestic violence in Maryland. Providing the non-offending parent and children, who would otherwise be homeless, a genuine family environment while they are still receiving counseling and additional human services. The Bernie House complements existing programs to ensure the success of the victims. We allow the time necessary to heal and build confidence for our residents to ensure stability when they transition to permanent housing. Families are accepted through the referral of local domestic violence agencies.
The Bernie House provides a longer-term situation, two years in fact, which is crucial to their success. We believe families should be the primary resource for the healthy growth and development of children, as well as for their financial support. The Bernie House believes that the longer a family stays in a home, the better chance they have of obtaining the proper resources needed to be completely self-sufficient. Time is given to build important support structures, and the feeling of stability for both the non-offending adult and the children increases.
Understanding that many victims of domestic violence need additional tools, skills and resources if they are to become self-sufficient and live free of violence. But, developing and applying the skills and knowledge to become psychologically and financially independent takes time.
HOW WE HELP:
The primary goal of The Bernie House is to provide a more permanent safe home to domestic violence victims, one family at a time, while empowering them to make a permanent transition to a stable, self-sufficient and healthy future.
Increase the family’s problem-solving, decision making, and relationship skills and their sense of self-esteem and competence
Enhance children’s self-esteem, sense of safety, relationship skills, and the ability to solve conflicts non-violently
Help families access community resources to meet their daily living needs and increase their self-sufficiency
Increase financial resources of victims by providing a home for up to 2 years allowing them to save money while working for a down payment on a house or apartment of their own
Increase the amount of social support received by the victims
The Bernie House works in collaboration with local agencies already in place to provide:
•Counseling (educational, vocational, family planning)
•Medical and psychological evaluations and treatment
•Skill building in parenting, age appropriate disciplinary practices, child care, conflict resolution, budgeting, housekeeping, and meal preparation
•Emergency financial assistance
•Parent aid or in home aid services
•Day care assistance
•Household budgeting and management
The Bernie House provides a hand up not a hand out. The family takes a primary role in planning which will help the transition to permanent stability.
The non-offending adult is required to pay rent, according to their income. This is an important contribution as these rent monies are placed in a savings account. When they have successfully completed the program the monies are returned to the client for the intention to be used for permanent housing, whether it be a down payment on a new home or security deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment. They are also permitted to take the entire contents of the home, if needed. This is a tremendous factor which leads to the next step, stability and success in permanent housing.
Considering the relationship between domestic violence and homelessness, a majority of homeless women are victims of domestic violence. Often times victims of domestic violence flee to temporary shelters to focus on immediate needs, which is a necessary first step. Often they return to their abuser because they lack the support and financial resources needed to become self-sufficient to provide a safe home for their children, resulting in the violent cycle often starts again.
28% of families were homeless because of domestic violence,
39% of cities cited domestic violence as the primary cause of family homelessness.
According to the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence organization, in 2014, there were 3,248 domestic violence cases in Anne Arundel County alone, second in the state to Baltimore County.
On any given day in 2015 1,095 Victims are Served.
407 domestic violence victims (208 children and 199 adults) found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local
domestic violence programs.
76 Unmet Requests for Services in One Day, of Which 45% Were for housing
Our first Bernie House is in Montgomery County. The home is owned outright having paid off the mortgage in less than 12 years. We work with one family at a time which is the reason we have such a tremendous success rate in Montgomery County.
Our most recent family has moved on with 8,000.00, to permanent housing completely furnished. We’ve had clients receive scholarships to the local community colleges. We’ve watched our clients move from entry level positions on to management. All of our clients were gainfully employed upon completion of the program. None returned to their abuser.
Our objective is to raise funds of 150,000.00 to purchase a home to bring The Bernie House program to Anne Arundel County.
Studies have shown 3,248 domestic violence cases in Anne Arundel County alone, it is time to bring a Bernie House to Anne Arundel County.