Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Kenneth Williams


In this study I sought to answer the research question: What effect does the current economic recession have on women seeking shelter from domestic abuse and on short term emergency shelter programs? From January 2008 to May 2009, due to lack of resources and adequate transitional housing opportunities, length of stay in New Hampshire’s domestic violence short term emergency shelters had increased from three to six months to twelve months or more. Simultaneously, New Hampshire’s short term domestic violence shelter organizations were adapting programming standards to deal with the swell. As a short term emergency shelter manager during this time, I found that beds were full and clients had no place to go, creating a pile-up at both the entrance and exit doors of the existing shelter programs. Reduced financial and human resources hampered the efficacy of the state’s domestic violence sheltering organizations.

Through interview, review of material data, and practical experience, I looked at the current economic recession’s effect on domestic violence and on short term emergency shelters. Case study genre was used to explore the chosen “purposeful sample” of six of the 13 New Hampshire domestic violence shelter programs as part of a larger system comprised of US local, state, and national domestic violence social service agencies. According to Rossman and Rallis (2003), purposeful samples “have reasons (purposes) for selecting specific participants, events, or processes” (Learning in the Field, p. 138). The purpose was to explore the needs and constraints imposed on New Hampshire’s shelters by a faltering economy, and to test as solution a need for long term transitional shelter programs for domestic violence survivors in NH. I also examined current shelter practices to determine if short term shelters have had to, or need to, change as a result of longer stays. I discovered that there is a demand and need for transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence.


Economics | Social Welfare


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