In February 2007, a woman we’ll call A, decided to leave the abusive father of her nine-month old daughter. She had no money, no training or education and she felt she didn’t have anywhere to turn.
After visiting the state Department of Transitional Assistance, she was given $290 per month in financial assistance and a bed at a family shelter for she and her daughter to share. Fortunately, her caseworker did not stop there. She was also brought to HarborCOV in Chelsea, which began to fill in the services that A needed, but could not provide for herself of her daughter.
“The first question they asked me was ‘how do you feel today?’ and that was the first question they asked me every time I walked through their doors,” said A. “That meant a lot to me, because nobody else asked me that and it let me know that that was important. How I felt was important.”
The state had given A some money and some shelter, but she quickly realized that she would need much more than that if she and her daughter were going to survive outside of the abusive relationship she had just fled.
“HarborCOV did a complete needs assessment for me and then set about helping me find the resources that could provide the things I needed,” A explained.
At HarborCOV, A found that she could apply for permanent subsidized housing in the city she was from. She found access to daycare, so that she could pursue work or educational opportunities and she found support – a network of other survivors and counselors who could help her make the best decisions for her future.
“They helped me understand that the next steps, like education, personal financial planning, and a more permanent home were all attainable,” said A. “With their help I was able to learn about budgeting and saving some of the little bit of money I was getting. I learned that I could qualify for assistance with school and daycare.”
And when the time came, and HarborCOV had an opening, the agency provided A with her first internship, giving her valuable workplace experience.
“HarborCOV was always there for me, one way or another,” she explained. “I knew who I could call and I knew who I could ask questions. I can’t explain in one conversation all of the things that HarborCOV was able to do for me and teach me.”
A did go to school, she attended Bunker Hill Community College for three semesters and is still enrolled there. She is working full-time and she has obtained a permanent home for her and her daughter in Chelsea Housing Authority properties.
HarborCOV has provided survivors of domestic violence with the tools to take control of their own lives, since 1988. 22 years later, HarborCOV has distinguished itself as a national model for its innovative approach and has helped nearly 40,000 victims and families reclaim their lives. HarborCOV offers a continuum of support for survivors and their children, from safety planning, basic needs and emergency housing to legal advocacy, job readiness, college, healthy living connections and affordable housing. HarborCOV’s success is a direct result of the partnerships forged with all of those who have become part of the community solution to end domestic violence.
The Chelsea Chamber of Commerce is the largest business-oriented organization in the city of Chelsea. Its mission is to promote and protect the interests of the business community by giving its members an excellent forum for promoting their business through networking a well as providing a powerful voice in local affairs.
Since 2004, The Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, has partnered with HarborCOV and local and area food purveyors to present the Taste of Chelsea as a way to spotlight local dining options, while also addressing the need to address the issue of domestic violence in the community and its impacts on local residents and families. Last year’s highly acclaimed event raised nearly $50,000 with all proceeds used to help HarborCOV continue to lead the way with innovative programs that break the cycle of abuse and engage the entire community in ending domestic violence.
The Seventh Annual Taste of Chelsea event will take place Monday, September 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. at 62 Broadway in Chelsea, in the Massport facility (now owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation) underneath the Tobin Bridge. The event has grown to include more than 40 local sponsors and restaurants.
Tickets for the event are $30 in advance, and $35 at the door for individual tickets sales. Groups of 10 or more can be purchased for $25 each and can be purchased at the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, Chelsea Bank or by going on-line to www.harborcov.org/events. The website is also a great place to see the complete list of program sponsors and participating restaurants for this year’s event.