Domestic violence survivor Ashley knows all too well how hard it can be to flee an abuser.
“I had an abuser that I no longer wanted to know where I lived,” said Ashley.
She tried breaking her apartment lease, but she says management wouldn’t let her.
“So you just have to stay where you’re at because we can’t afford that thousand dollars to break a lease,” said Ashley.
Senate Bill 78 aims to put a stop to that. It would allow domestic violence victims to get out of their lease easier and for less money.
A bill that Executive Director at Wichita Family Crisis Center Amanda Meyers says would also help reduce overcrowding of domestic violence shelters in Wichita.
“We’re always at capacity and having to turn away people,” said Meyers. “So to the extent that we can keep people safe in their own homes that increases space for other victims to get safe.”
According to the Wichita Family Crisis Center, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families nationally.
If passed, the bill would provide housing protections that’s one less burden on the path to healing.
“These are women and children who want free independent lives, free from abuse,” said Meyers.
“It’s just one more stress that we have getting out of domestic violence which is one that we really shouldn’t have to have,” said Ashley.
The bill requires that domestic violence victims would have to notify their landlord about their situation.
They may also have to submit documentation like a court order to them.
The bill still has to be signed by Governor Kelly.
A summary of the bill can be viewed here.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence call the 24/7 crisis hotline at 316-267-SAFE.
If you or someone you know is looking for a support group for domestic violence victims in transition contact Wichita Women’s Initiative Network at 316-262-3960.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 911.