TALLAHASSEE, FL-- Lele is picking up the pieces of her life. Pregnant and abused, she roamed the streets homeless until she found a shelter that would take her in.
“I lost my job in June and everything just went downhill from there. Light bill couldn’t be paid, rent couldn’t be paid. We didn’t have food, I didn’t have food stamps. Just things like that tore us apart,” Lele said.
Advocates say there is a link between rising unemployment and increased domestic violence.
“If the batterer is unemployed, which many are right now, then he’s home more of the time, he has the opportunity to batter more often, and the severity is often worse,” advocate Tiffany Carr said.
“My husband couldn’t find a job and he was really, really stressed about it,” Deborah, an abuse victim, said.
She says when the economy soured, so did her relationship. “I went from sleeping in a car to staying in the waiting room at hospitals. I slept where ever I could sleep that made me feel safe until I got here.”
Not everyone is able to find the help or shelter they need.
Last year more than 7,000 women and children were turned away from shelters because there were no rooms.
Another three thousand victims across the state have been jammed into overcrowded shelters.
The Catch-22 is that while the demand for shelters is at all time high, funding is at its lowest level in decades.
Some Stimulus cash has started flowing to domestic violence shelters to help homeless women and children. Shelters say they are seeing people who have never been homeless before.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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