Apna Ghar (Our Home)
Apna Ghar (Our Home) provides comprehensive, culturally relevant services to survivors of domestic violence. Their services include counseling, legal, case management and safe visitation, safe exchange (SVSE). We talked with Kavita D’ Souza, Apna Ghar’s Operations Coordinator about how their services and the way they work with clients shifted as a result of the pandemic.
At the onset of the pandemic with everyone at home, instances of domestic violence increased which in turn drastically increased the demand for their services. With no time to spare, they had to shift to a remote business model and find a way to not only keep clients safe from domestic violence, but safe from the pandemic. They began to realize that the biggest service they could provide to these clients was to get them out of their current living situations as soon as possible. Because of social distancing, they had to decrease capacity in their shelters and find more housing options; thus their Transitional Housing Program was born. Through the use of their own funds as well as creative partnerships, they were able to secure hotel and motel rooms around the city. They set up zoom services and provided Chrome books to clients to ensure they weren’t cut off from the world and — most importantly — Apna Ghar (Our Home).
“Apna Ghar” is a Hindi-Urdu word which means “Our Home.” True to mission, their organization was able to provide survivors of domestic violence a physical space and support system to make them feel safe and at home.