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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time to raise public awareness about violence in the home, to mourn those who have died at the hands of an abuser, and to celebrate those who have survived. This month we celebrate not only the survival--but the success--of Cynthia, who left an abusive relationship in rural Maine, only to find that she could not afford to provide for herself and her infant daughter.

Cynthia applied for assisted housing throughout the state, but waiting lists were long. It was the Auburn Housing Authority that directed her to the Abused Women's Advocacy Project (AWAP) where she found safety and support in their transitional housing residence.

In this nurturing environment, Cynthia began to build a new life. Eventually, she received a housing choice voucher from the Auburn Housing Authority. AWAP staff helped her find an apartment and furnishings and helped her gain legal custody of her daughter.

With staff support, she enrolled in college and will obtain her Associates Degree in Applied Science next year. "I am finally living my dream," she says of student life. "But I'm not stopping there. My ultimate goal is to get my Master's in Occupational Therapy. I have the next six years planned." Cynthia remains in touch with the staff at AWAP. "They were understanding and caring and supportive of me when I needed it most."

AWAP offers a variety of services including a 24-hour domestic violence hot line, emergency shelter, transitional housing, court advocacy and counseling. To learn more about the Abused Women's Advocacy Project (http://www.awap.org/), visit their website. HUD funds emergency shelters and supportive housing. To learn more, visit HUD's Continuum of Care and Community Development Block Grant program websites.

Content Archived: March 21, 2011

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