The Coordinator of Shelter Services, DVSV Advocate and Family Advocate all provide advocacy services for shelter residents and their children. The advocates offer to meet with residents to assist in their goals while staying at the shelter and when they leave shelter. Advocacy services are based on their individual needs.
The Family Advocate may be assisting a parent/guardian navigate their cases with child welfare; getting children registered for school; connecting with specific resources for their children. If there is a child who has some special needs due to their cognitive and emotional development the Family Advocate will assist in connecting the family to the appropriate resources and will advocate for the children while they are staying in the shelter.
The Coordinator of Shelter Services and DVSV Advocate may need to advocate on behalf of a resident who is dealing with immigration issues. The abuser may have taken their papers, they may need to apply for U Visa, or they may need assistance in obtaining legal services. The advocate may need to assist in contacting the embassy of their country of origin. Most of the time those embassies are located in another state and create a challenge in getting their passport/visa updated.
The Advocates may need to provide court advocacy for protective orders or criminal proceedings. The resident may need assistance with situations that the abuser has created that resulted in charges pending against them. Advocates are available to accompany residents to file a police report against the abuser.
The Advocates provide advocacy services when residents are working with agencies who do not understand their situation and need a third party to help clarify what they need. It is not uncommon for the Advocates to provide advocacy for residents to obtain mental health services or substance abuse services. Shelter residents have access to advocates seven days a week. Some residents will stay in contact with the advocates as they are still in need of those services after they leave the shelter.