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Latinx domestic violence service provider launches campaign for culturally responsive housing project

 Casa MiA is a proposed 12-unit affordable housing project that would serve Latinx survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault
courtesy of Mujeres in Action
Casa MiA is a proposed 12-unit affordable housing project that would serve Latinx survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault

Advocates say Latinx survivors of domestic and sexual violence are falling through the cracks in Spokane’s social service system.

Leaders of Mujeres in Action, also known as MiA, say the housing crisis, paired with a lack of culturally responsive housing options, has left some survivors with nowhere to go.

Hanncel Sanchez, the executive director of MiA, said the organization is seeking funds to build a culturally responsive domestic violence housing project.

Sanchez said the largest demographic her agency serves is Latinx mothers, who can feel as if they’re choosing between staying with an abuser and homelessness.

She said their clients may not feel safe in shelters because there are no staff members who speak their language.

“When working with the immigrant community, trust is a big thing,” Sanchez said. “When the people serving you look like you, they speak your language and they can relate to your immigrant experience, that really helps create that bond, and that bridge and that trust they need to be able to receive the help and move forward.”

She said it’s also difficult for advocates to find them a place to move too, because of their immigration status, or financial abuse that has left them with poor or no credit.

“This (project) will help remove many of those barriers, and help provide a safe environment for survivors where they can support one another, be able to have access to advocates too, and build community and heal,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said they are in the early steps of fundraising for a 12-unit townhome project called Casa MiA. She said their initial goal is $300,000 to buy the land and pay for predevelopment and planning costs. She said if they are able to raise the initial funds, they can apply for state grants, which could help them reach their $4.2 million overall goal.

She said people can support the project by participating in their September 15 fundraising gala, Sequins and Velvet.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.