Hilltop program picked for housing project

A program offering services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Western Colorado has been selected for a project to help crime victims find and retain safe housing.

The Hilltop Latimer House and Domestic Violence Services will receive a grant for $188,000 for the 20-month Housing for Crime Victims Special Project.

Kaye Hotspenpiller, senior director of Hilltop Domestic Violence Services, said the grant will provide funds for extended housing and ongoing advocacy services in Mesa County as well as Delta, Ouray and Montrose counties.

A project of the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Division of Criminal Justice Office for Victims Programs, the effort will help victims find and retain safe long-term housing as well as provide the support they need to build their lives.

The goals of the project include assisting crime victims in meeting their long-term housing needs, enhancing and expanding community support and providing low-barrier, survivor-driven mobile advocacy by meeting survivors where it’s safe and convenient for them.

By one estimate, 92 percent of women who are homeless reported having experienced severe physical or sexual assault at some point in their lives. Victims of crime can face discrimination when looking for housing. A  lack of affordable housing and housing assistance can further limit their options.

The Housing for Crime Victims Special Project is a 20-month effort that helps victims with housing assistance, supportive services, community engagement and financial assistance.

The effort will implement evidence-based approaches that have been shown to work in other states, such as the Domestic Violence Housing First project in Washington.