GCF Supports Safe Shelter and Therapy for Those Fleeing Power-Based Personal Violence
December 15, 2021 – Covington, KY – The Ion Center received a $50,000 grant from Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) to support safe shelter of victims fleeing power-based personal violence in the tristate region and increase access to intersectional trauma-informed mental health services. According to 2021 State of Mental Health in America, due to the prevalence of the pandemic, we are seeing the highest levels of anxiety and depression since March 2020. Providing healthy safe shelter continues to be a challenge in congregate care settings. The funding from GCF would provide 50-80 nights of COVID relief shelter in local hotels (necessary for social distancing and public health) and 350-500 hours of intersectional trauma informed therapy to meet the increased need in our community.
The Ion Center is prioritizing inclusion and prevention across all aspects of their agency, services, and community engagement. Christy Burch, Ion Center CEO says, “everything we do at Ion is either preventing violence from happening or from getting worse. At the root of power-based personal violence is a loss of power. In working with survivors of trauma, they experience a complete loss of control due to abuse. We operate all services and programs through three levels of prevention: primary prevention, secondary prevention and tertiary prevention. Not only are we trying to help those who have already been impacted, but to keep it from ever happening in the first place.”
In 2020 The Ion Center provided 13,083 safe bed nights in their 24/7 emergency shelters and 531 bed nights in hotels due to COVID. Ion served 39,249 meals and provided 6,087 hours of counseling. Providing clients with options of shelter and care, including safe hoteling (when shelters are full and for COVID prevention) and an option to work with a therapist that has similar lived experience, or may be more accessible to them, is a way that The Ion Center can uphold trauma informed care and lessen the impact of violence in people’s lives. The more people who have access to safe shelter the more it helps prevent violence from continuing. “46 years as a foundational community agency, coupled with our commitment to prevention and inclusion, helps prevent further acts of power-based personal violence and creates lasting community change,” says Burch.
Not only will this grant ensure vulnerable residents in our region have access to food and shelter through two emergency shelters, but will increase access to well-integrated and/or trauma informed mental health services. Therapy is expensive and it is critical that services at The Ion Center remain free. At Ion a survivor is never responsible for cost for their healing. Ion recognizes that the intersectional nature of a client’s trauma may mean they do not have the privileges that allow access to quality intersectional therapy services. Christy Burch says, “we want Ion to be safe and affirming, and we recognize it may be difficult for many reasons to walk through the door. Providing options for therapists in the community can be an extension of care and support that we strive to offer. This grant allows us to remove barriers for more survivors in our community by offering more safe bed nights and additional much needed expansion of therapy services.”