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Building Dignity: Design Strategies for Domestic Violence Shelter

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Building Dignity explores design strategies for domestic violence emergency housing. Thoughtful design dignifies survivors by meeting their needs for self-determination, security, and connection. The ideas here reflect a commitment to creating welcoming, accessible environments that help to empower survivors and their children. Building dignity is the essence of advocacy.

Domestic violence survivors and their children may spend between one week and three months in emergency shelters before moving to transitional or permanent housing. Emergency domestic violence shelters offer safety for survivors from immediate danger from their abusers, and aim to empower survivors and help them reclaim a non-violent, stable family life.

Providing a space that offers safety to multiple families with varied needs, while also supporting each individual’s healing process is challenging. We worked closely with domestic violence programs across Washington State to think creatively about how to manage the many aspects of their work. We are honored to have the opportunity to think with our member programs and learn from their experiences. It allows us all to reach beyond the status quo and move more powerfully toward our aspirations for a world in which every relationship is determined by love and respect for each other’s and one’s own integrity.

We are celebrating ten years of Building Dignity in 2022!

Since 2012, Building Dignity shelter design principles have been used across the nation to foster safety, empowerment, and connection for survivors of domestic violence and their families. Do you have a story to share about how you’ve used Building Dignity in your domestic violence shelter? We want to hear from you!

Join us for a webinar highlighting Building Dignity shelter design principles, reflecting on the past ten years, and uplifting stories of domestic violence programs who have implemented Building Dignity in their shelters.

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