- About Us
Samaritan House is committed to fostering personal safety, growth and self-sufficiency in adults and their children through the freedom from sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and homelessness.Since 1984, Samaritan House has provided emergency and permanent housing, support services and community outreach to victims of domestic violence and homeless families. We own and operate 12 safe houses for emergency shelter for individuals and families fleeing violence and those at risk of losing their homes. Samaritan House also provides trauma informed services for violence victims and their children in transitional housing. In our emergency and permanent programs we shelter about 110 people per night as well as providing affordable housing at fair market value. Our children’s program works with our youth (approximately 65% of the people we serve) to establish healthy relationships, build self-confidence, increase academic performance, and ultimately break the cycles of violence and homelessness.
- Our Philosophy
Samaritan House programs and services are guided by the empowerment theory and model of practice. We involve ourselves in the change process by developing a helping relationship with each individual based on trust and shared power. We believe that all people have the capability of improving their own lives and we respect the right to self-determination by each person. We build upon an individual’s identified strengths, mobilize resources, and teach new skills that will directly improve the interactions between each person and the various systems they interact with in order to survive and thrive.We recognize that family violence is a complex social problem and not the effect of individual deficits. We maintain the empowerment perspective and believe that battered women and men are not victims of violence by choice and that given adequate support, resources, and opportunities, they will choose violence-free lives for themselves and their children.We acknowledge that discrimination, economic deprivation, and oppression impede a person’s ability to move from poverty and homelessness to economic stability. Our advocacy efforts secure resources and services that individuals and families are entitled to and are unable to obtain on their own. We are dedicated to serving the community and offer hope, healing, and change to all those who seek out Samaritan House services.
- Our History
In 1984, the Virginia Beach interfaith community, which offered support to the Virginia Beach Department of Social Services, found that many service agencies were asking for assistance in providing shelter and food for homeless families. As the need was becoming more than the individual churches had the resources to meet, a task force was formed to address local and regional homelessness, and a four-bedroom shelter for homeless families was opened in 1985 and Samaritan House was born.Under the name of Virginia Beach Ecumenical Housing, Inc., Samaritan House was incorporated in 1984 and opened its first shelter in 1985 for homeless families. Within five years, Samaritan House expanded services to respond to homelessness resulting from domestic violence, beginning the mission of domestic violence crisis intervention and prevention.Samaritan House participates in the Regional Crisis Response, a 24-hour crisis hotline and provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, low cost affordable housing and supportive services that promote safety, self-sufficiency and healing to families in crisis and victims of domestic violence. In addition to our housing units, we operate the Patricia and Douglas Perry Safe Harbor Center. This facility is used for our children’s program, various support and training groups, the Victim Advocacy Program, our case management staff, our intake department, and our administrative offices.
Samaritan House is dedicated to identifying and eliminating the root causes of homelessness and violence in any form wherever possible through education, advocacy, community outreach and intervention. Our Prevention & Education programs present workshops and trainings to middle school, high school and college students; the medical community; law enforcement, the faith-based community, civic organizations, the military, and the general public. We host awareness campaigns throughout the year and participate in legal advocacy efforts on issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
Jessica found herself having to reestablish her life from California when her mother, a Navy Veteran, moved her and her brothers to Virginia to escape her physically abusive husband regain control of their lives and future. Always a good student no matter what life brought her; Jessica was often overlooked and neglected by her family members. It was because of this neglect that Jessica was drawn to unhealthy and inappropriate relationships for the attention she wasn’t getting at home. Realizing the family needed assistance dealing with their trauma and support in securing permanent housing, Jessica’s mom reached out to Samaritan House. Working with her assigned Children’s Advocate, Jessica was assessed and referred to Military Integrative Therapy. During sessions with her art therapist, Jessica was able to express her feelings and overcome some of the troubling experiences and memories from her past. Specifically, Jessica was able to face the chaos surrounding her life and identify the choices she had to make in order to develop positive, healthy boundaries within her relationships. Since her involvement with Samaritan House, Jessica has flourished at school and was recently accepted to Old Dominion University where she is pursuing a career in social work in hopes of making a positive impact on the lives of others who have experienced violence at home.
During her impressionable pre-teen years, Ashley suffered on-going verbal and emotional abuse from her father. During such an important developmental time for a young girl trying to establish her self- identity, her father’s abuse left Ashley with emotional scars. Determined to create a happy and supportive environment for her children, Ashley’s mom turned to Samaritan House to find a job and a place to live. While Ashley’s mom worked with her assigned advocate on job placement and permanent housing stabilization, Ashley was assigned a Samaritan House Children’s Advocate who was devoted to helping Ashley work through her past trauma and to help her establish healthy goals for the future. Ashley’s advocate realized that because of the verbal and emotional trauma she had experienced in her young life, she had formed harmful habits that affected her personal health. Like her cousin, Jessica, Ashley was referred to therapy and was aided in working through her trauma via their art therapy program. Art therapy has helped Ashley build the self-esteem she was lacking, as well as develop coping mechanisms to deal with stressors she may encounter in life. Ashley has been working hard in hopes to apply for the health sciences academy, her aspirations are to be a nurse and work with cancer patients.
Both girls came from different backgrounds and experienced different dynamics of domestic violence, but because of the dedication of their mothers to establish healthy family environments and the support of Samaritan House staff and services, these girls are thriving. Through their ordeals, they have leaned on each other for support and relied on their familial bond for strength. They have been active participants in Samaritan House afterschool programs and all of the other children’s activities. They give back by supporting and engaging the younger youth in other Samaritan House programs and have become role models for many.
When my ex-husband battered and assaulted me multiple times it was the Samaritan House that took me and my son in to help us. With counseling and support groups they helped give me the strength and support to leave the marriage. To give me the courage to put it on my abusers permanent record so that he will think twice about hurting another woman or child because now he has a history. He was convicted of child abuse and neglect as well as assault and battery. He plead guilty.
I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if he battered another woman or harmed another child knowing I could of prevented it by not reporting it. The staff is so friendly. I was shocked that an advocate came to my trial and spoke with me in the waiting room before my trials. She really made the tension and anxiety subside while waiting I was waiting for court trial on my case.
The women in the support group really gave me strength to no longer let my abuser try to mentally abuse me since he’s not physically around me. Thank you so much for your organization. I am forever grateful.
Take A Tour
While our emergency shelters are scattered at undisclosed locations across Hampton Roads for the protection of our clients, our regional headquarters in Virginia Beach is open to the public for scheduled tours. Our supporters are encouraged to witness firsthand how we achieve our mission and meet our dedicated staff and interns. We welcome the opportunity to meet you and give you a tour to showcase the latest changes and updates to the programs we provide. Contact Tom Higgins to schedule a tour of the Samaritan House office.
Publications & Media
To stay informed on the latest news regarding our programs, services, events, and ways to get involved, we invite you to stay in touch through the various publications we produce.
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