Category: Domestic Violence and Disabilities

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Domestic Violence and Disabilities

Learn how Barrier Free Living supports individuals with disabilities to live dignified lives free of all forms of abuse and bias.

Diana Turner: A Fierce Sense of Community At Barrier Free Living Apartments

August 5, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Growing up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1970s, Diana Turner (pictured above) most remembers the fierce sense of community. “I grew up across from Tompkins Square Park. Back then the neighborhood was called alphabet city,” says Diana, who joined the Barrier Free Living team this June (2019) as program director at our supportive housing program in the Bronx (BFL Apartments)*. “I saw the homeless problem. I also had a… read more

Life Saving Moment: CPR In Action at BFL Apartments

July 1, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories, Uncategorized 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living apartment team members Irma Williams, Director of Social Services, and Jeffrey Hampton, Resident Aide Manager, put their recent CPR* training to the test in an emergency situation this summer, saving the life of a resident at the supportive housing program. After a tenant reported an unresponsive family member in their home, Irma and Jeffrey  rushed to the scene, called 911 then checked the person's breathing.  Jeffrey, who had… read more

BFL’s Secret Garden Opens New Space, Unveils Historical Timeline

May 17, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living's (BFL) Secret Garden domestic violence program welcomed staff and supporters to the grand opening of its new healing space this May. A historical timeline was unveiled (photo above) mapping the program's decades of providing services to survivors of domestic violence with disabilities. "This is a great new home where we can focus on our comprehensive services. We welcome all agency staff to attend our regular workshops and trainings, or… read more

Barrier Free Living Presents: Exploring the Intersection of Domestic Violence, Disability & Trauma

May 13, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Cynthia Amodeo, Chief Program Officer at Barrier Free Living and Jules Perkel, Program Director at Barrier Free Living's Secret Garden, will co-present this presentation at this year's conference.  According to the Office on Women's Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, research suggests that women with disabilities are more likely to suffer domestic violence and sexual assault than women without disabilities, and women with disabilities report abuse that lasts longer… read more

BFL’s Freedom House Launches Art Therapy Group

May 13, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Making art with others is an expression of hope. (Bruce L. Moon, art therapist. Above, art created as part of BFL's Transitional Housing program art group circa 1990.) This spring, Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter launched a new art therapy group for residents (watch a virtual tour of Freedom House here). The group, created by a current MSW intern at Freedom House hopes to “offer a space for residents to express themselves in a playful… read more

Debt & Domestic Violence

May 10, 2019 Advocacy, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
April was recognized as Financial Literacy Month in the U.S. and there were a roster of events shining a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education. Barrier Free Living’s programs (Secret Garden, Freedom House, BFL Apartments) offer a variety of financial literacy workshops and educational forums throughout the year for our tenants, residents and participants who are survivors of domestic violence with disabilities. Our Freedom House domestic violence shelter works with The… read more

Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House: Denise Survivor Spotlight  

April 2, 2019 Advocacy, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
An encounter with an occupational therapist during a hospital stay in 2017 was the first step in Denise’s journey to safety. “I was in the hospital for a multiple sclerosis flare up. I had a week before I had to go home. My living situation was toxic. Mental and psychological abuse,” says Denise. “I was scared and my blood pressure was going up. An occupational therapist asked me about my blood pressure and she ended up telling me she had been… read more

Staff Spotlight: Julissa Vasquez Freedom House Director of Social Services

March 21, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Julissa Vasquez joined Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter team this past year as Director of Social Services. Julissa has a Master's degree in Social Work from Hunter College and she’s been working in social services for the past decade. Currently, she is doing a research project for Stony Brook University about the intersection of domestic violence and disability.  Julissa takes a few moments to share her… read more

Butler Street Coop Donates Toys & Books To Barrier Free Living Learning Center

February 22, 2019 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Shelter 0 Comments
  The volunteer-led Butler Street Coop had to close its Brooklyn based playground/pre-school this winter, but the silver lining came in the form of donations to the new Learning Center for kids at Barrier Free Living apartments in the South Bronx. The Coop donated books, toys and musical instruments to the center. Barrier Free Living apartments offers permanent homes to survivors of domestic… read more

Staff Spotlight: Jennifer Davis, Freedom House Social Worker

February 11, 2019 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
When Jennifer Davis took a leap to pursue social work in 2014, it was the voice of a Barrier Free Living resident that guided her. “My (graduate school) statement of purpose started with a quote from a resident at Barrier Free Living’s transitional housing program**,” says Jennifer. “Speedy (the resident) said to me that ‘sometimes the only reason I get out of bed in the morning is because I know Luca… read more

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February 8, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Contributor Sara Eldridge, LMSW, is the Assisstant Director of Social Services at Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter. Sara is a licensed social worker who received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in 2015. Sara has been a social worker at Freedom House since 2015, where she provides individual and group counseling to adults, children and adolescents. Prior to Freedom House… read more

V-Day February 14

February 7, 2019 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that occurs in February. Learn more about V-Day here.  V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery. Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers… read more

PopGym Self Defense Workshop At Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House Domestic Violence Shelter

November 16, 2018 Advocacy, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Working from a philosophy that takes both a physical and an emotional approach to self defense, PopGym held a workshop for the residents of Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter this October. (Take a short virtual tour of Freedom House here.) We caught up with PopGym team member Grey to find out a bit more about this innovative organization in New York City. BFL: How did you get… read more

Unique Issues Face By Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Survivors of Domestic Violence

November 8, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
This month's contributor,  Nicolyn Plummer is a senior social worker and coordinator of outreach and advocacy of the Deaf Services Initiative, in conjunction with Secret Garden and Freedom House to enhance accessibility in serving Deaf victims. Sexual assault victims who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing face unique issues compared to those who are hearing when it comes to reporting the assault. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reports that approximately one in five hearing women have been raped in their lifetime… read more

Insights From Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden Program

November 8, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Since 1990, Barrier Free Living’s community-based Secret Garden program has been working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities providing counseling, support groups, occupational therapy and case management services. During October’s Domestic Violence Awareness month, the team is busy with outreach, events and presentations. They also offer domestic violence related trainings year-round (view a short film about the trainings here). We touched based with the team, to take a closer look at what makes this dynamic program so unique and valuable. What… read more

A Fair Shake For Youth At Freedom House Domestic Violence Shelter

November 6, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
A Fair Shake for Youth, a New York City based organization that helps kids build social and emotional skills through a hands-on therapy dog program, held workshops at Barrier Free Living's Freedom House Domestic Violence shelter this October. Freedom House offers crisis shelter to survivors of domestic violence with disabilities, and their families. (Watch a virtual tour of Freedom House here.) Fair Shake works with therapy dog teams… read more

Advocate Spotlight: Vangie Leon

October 23, 2018 Breaking Barriers in DV, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
After over a decade at Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter for people with disabilities,  Family Associate/Board of Education liaison Vangie Leon is still driven by the spirit of love and compassion that she discovered when she started the job. We caught up with Vangie to talk about the work she does with children, the challenges she faces and the lessons she continues to learn. BFL: Tell us how you first became familiar… read more

Insights From Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden Team

October 23, 2018 Breaking Barriers in DV, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Since 1990, Barrier Free Living's community-based Secret Garden program has been working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities providing counseling, support groups, occupational therapy and case management services. During October's Domestic Violence Awareness month, the team is busy with outreach, events and presentations. They also offer domestic violence related trainings year-round (view a short film about the trainings here). We touched based with the team, to take a… read more

Survivor Spotlight: Olivia At Freedom House

October 17, 2018 Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Last summer, after a domestic violence incident, Oliva was feeling emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually unsafe. She needed to find a way up and out for herself and her children. “The (domestic violence) incident that took place on June 5th turned everything upside down for me,” says Olivia. “I needed to get away from this abusive relationship with my children’s father. (Barrier Free Living’s) Freedom House (domestic violence shelter) has been the catalyst… read more

Survivors Art Workshop Part of Barrier Free Living Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 9, 2018 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
During October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, residents and participants at our domestic violence programs will be sharing their work, created during art expression workshops at Freedom House and Secret Garden. We will be posting the art through the month to celebrate their strength and courage. At top art by EA. Below, first image, art by EA, second and last image art by CA, "building blocks of love" from CC… read more

Advocate Spotlight: Irma Williams

October 9, 2018 Advocacy, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
When Irma Williams joined the Barrier Free Living apartments (BFLA) social work team this past year, she brought a skill set she’d developed over a decade. Originally from Guatemala, Irma grew up in lower Manhattan and started out as a peer program assistant at Boom Health (formerly citywide harm reduction.) During her time at Boom, she earned a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College and was promoted to the social work… read more

Barrier Free Living Team Walks In Bride’s March 2018

September 28, 2018 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Team members of Barrier Free Living's domestic violence programs walked in this year's Bride's March on September 26. Check out our march coverage on instagram: bfl_newyork The Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk/Brides’ March is an annual event which was started in New York City in 2001 to remember Gladys Ricart, a Dominican woman from Washington Heights, who was murdered in New Jersey on September 26, 1999, by her abusive former… read more

September Is Deaf Awareness Month

September 14, 2018 Breaking Barriers in DV, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Deaf Awareness Month began in September 1958 as International Week of the Deaf, in commemoration of the first World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf. Barrier Free Living (BFL) has a long history of working with Deaf and hard-of-hearing clients and residents at our three domestic violence programs (Secret Garden, Freedom House, BFL Apartments). For many years, Freedom House had hearing social workers and… read more

Angela’s Journey: Working With The OT Team At Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden DV Program

August 14, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments
Angela began counseling at Barrier Free Living's Secret Garden community-based domestic violence program in 2014, and soon after began exploring the rich opportunities offered through the agency’s Occupational Therapy (OT) department. “Through the help of the occupational therapy team I gained courage and became more open to change,” says Angela, who has a visual impairment. “They provided a safe zone for me to be around people who have the best interest for my… read more

Fierce Femmes Group Begins At BFL Apartments

July 19, 2018 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
The Barrier Free Living Occupational Therapy (OT) team at BFL Apartments in the Bronx NY kick off the new "Fierce Femmes" women's empowerment group Friday, July 27. The purpose of the 4-week group is to promote social participation, physical activity, and positive self-regard. Tenants of BFL Apartments, which serves survivors of domestic violence with disabilities, will learn choreography to a new song each week. Week one will feature choreography to "7/11" by… read more

Barrier Free Living Team Member Presents On Elder Abuse At Deaf Wellness Center

July 18, 2018 Current Events, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Barrier Free Living team member Nicolyn Plummer will present on Elder Abuse at the Deaf Wellness and Recreation Center in Brooklyn, NY at 10 a.m. on August 31. Nicolyn is a Senior Social Worker and the Coordinator of Outreach and Advocacy at Barrier Free Living. Learn more here.  Learn more about the Barrier Free Living Deaf Services Team here. Read our recent blog story about Elder Abuse here. … read more

Freedom House: Working With Children In Our Domestic Violence Shelter

July 17, 2018 Breaking Barriers in DV, Breaking Barriers Newsletter, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 3 Comments
Contributor Sara Eldridge, LMSW, is the Assisstant Director of Social Services at Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter.  Sara is a licensed social worker who received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in 2015.  Sara has been a social worker at Freedom House since 2015, where she provides individual and group counseling to adults, children and adolescents. Prior to Freedom House she worked with… read more

Two Advocates Talk About the Sexual Assault Epidemic Affecting People with Disabilities & How We Can All Help

July 9, 2018 Advocacy, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Reposted from the No More Blog. The following was co-written by James and Leigh Ann. For far too long, people with disabilities and their allies have been invisible to mainstream society, forced to live in the shadows within our communities, and given little opportunity or a platform to speak out on issues we care about. This painful reality has been especially damaging when it comes to sexual assault. While national movements like #MeToo have opened the door to establishing a… read more

Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House: Resident Garden Group

June 28, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments
Residents and Occupational Therapy interns at BFL's Freedom House domestic violence shelter worked together this spring to bring new life to the shelter garden. "Residents gain self-confidence and a sense of control as they see the decisions they make lead to real changes in the aesthetic of the yard and the growing of their seeds," says Bella, a member of the OT team. Freedom House offers safe haven to families, along with… read more

Secret Garden: Immigrant Latina Survivor Of Intimate Partner Violence Group

June 28, 2018 Domestic Violence and Disabilities 2 Comments
Barrier Free Living's Secret Garden community based domestic violence program has begun a new group focusing on the Immigrant Latina survivor of intimate partner violence. Stemming from research conducted by Catherine Marrs-Fuschel, Secret Garden has adopted portions of a curriculum, “Si, yo Puedo.” This program is meant to work with the immigrant Latina to understand aspects of healthy vs unhealthy relationships and works to improve self-awareness and self-esteem in the Latina immigrant… read more