Grant Writing Sample

Dear Trustees:

Crystal's House, the leading domestic violence services provider in Michigan, respectfully requests a grant of $20,000 from the ABC Foundation to support trauma-informed behavioral health services for survivors of domestic violence. Crystal's House offers women and children survivors residing in our emergency shelters access to crisis, individual, and group therapy to help them heal from trauma they have experienced as a cause of domestic violence. Funding from the ABC Foundation will ensure that we can continue to provide quality services to 500 survivors each year. An award of $20,000 from the ABC Foundation would provide trauma-informed behavioral health services to 35 women and children survivors of domestic violence.

About Crystal's House: Since its origins in 1976 as a part-time domestic violence crisis hotline based in a women’s center, Crystal's House has grown to provide an array of comprehensive services, touching the lives of approximately 15,000 individuals each year. These services include two 100-bed safe havens, transitional housing, community-based supportive services, behavioral health therapy, legal services, hotline counseling, and community education, advocacy and technical assistance.

Our mission is to provide quality, compassionate, and nonjudgmental services in a manner that fosters self-respect and independence in persons experiencing intimate partner violence and to lead the struggle to end domestic violence through advocacy and community education. Crystal's House services throughout the agency are trauma-informed and follow the principles of the Sanctuary Model®. Crystal's House is the first domestic violence services agency to be certified in the Sanctuary Model® in Michigan, and one of only two worldwide – the culmination of a process that has been bolstered by insights from our behavioral health team.

The Need: Each year in Michigan, the police respond to more than 100,000 domestic violence incidents; emergency rooms tend to at least 2,000 visits by women that are likely the result of a domestic violence assault. Michigan's court system is clogged with approximately 10,000 requests for protection from abuse orders. Crystal's House was forced to turn away 11,165 requests for shelter beds due to limited space in Fiscal Year 2017 alone.

The correlation between domestic violence and behavioral health symptoms has been well-documented. Domestic violence is correlated with depression, dysthymia, suicidality, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder.[1] The National Center on Family Homelessness’ “SHIFT” study also found an extraordinary prevalence of post traumatic stress disorder (48 to 60%), depression (51 to 83%), and anxiety (over 25%) among domestic abuse survivors in housing transition. This finding suggests that even once a family has established safety, the enduring impact of domestic violence can continue to interfere with everyday life.

Despite this clear connection, many domestic violence organizations have historically focused on providing safety, advocacy, and basic necessities. Crystal's House is committed to integrating behavioral health services to victims that address the effects of trauma on site within our shelters and transitional housing program. By doing so, Crystal's House eliminates the financial burden of paying for therapy, travel and the need for childcare, and empowers survivors to take advantage of behavioral health resources.

While in shelter, survivors are largely focused on finding employment and safe housing so they can have somewhere to live after their temporary stay. If left unaddressed, trauma symptoms (i.e. flashbacks, debilitating depression) can interfere with completing the tasks necessary to establish independence, such as attending scheduled appointments or completing important applications on time.

These services are not typically funded under sources that provide support for shelter and housing. As a result, Crystal's House must raise funds for behavioral health services each year. We are deeply committed to making these services available as a vital part of our continuum of care and have seen the meaningful impact it can make.

Behavioral Health Services: To address these critical needs, Crystal's House offers a trauma assessment to all survivors entering our residential programs, known as the PSS-I-5. This assessment helps to increase awareness about trauma, and is followed by an orientation to the various individual and group offerings available. Case managers and staff therapists work closely together to support clients in achieving their goals.

Our behavioral health services aim to empower residents of the safe havens in their journey towards healing by providing voluntary trauma-informed, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT helps clients to recognize trauma triggers and begin to identify healthy coping skills that can be used long after they have left our programs.

Due to the transient nature of Crystal's House clients and the typical shelter stay of 60 days, Crystal's House utilizes a brief treatment strategy in which therapists lay the groundwork for future healing and recovery. Services in the emergency safe haven focus on psycho-educational work on the cycle and dynamics of domestic violence, an understanding of trauma and trauma symptoms that may be present in the client’s life, and identification of strategies to manage symptoms of trauma that may interfere with the client’s daily functioning and safety goals. The therapist collaborates closely with case managers in problem-solving when behavioral health needs interfere with clients’ ability to accomplish their goals, such as pursuing employment or strengthening parenting methods.

In Fiscal Year 2017 alone, the behavioral health team served 477 individuals, including 105 children. We provided 944 individual therapy sessions and 408 group sessions. This represents 37.5% of adults and children served in our safe havens and transitional housing program. Because participation is voluntary, this demonstrates the clear value these services hold within the community. For individuals who have been screened for posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms at intake and again after 30 days, Crystal's House has recorded a 28% reduction in trauma symptoms.

Impact: As a result of participating in behavioral health services, Crystal's House anticipates that:

·         85% of clients who engage in behavioral health services will be able to identify at least one trauma trigger and/or symptom;

·         85% of clients who engage with behavioral health services will be able to identify at least one healthy way to manage a trauma trigger and/or symptom (coping strategy); and

·         100% of clients will receive a referral to a community-based behavioral health service provider upon discharge.

Crystal's House will assess the impact of this program using our agency wide database, which includes report-outs from therapists. Thank you for your careful consideration of this request. We look forward to the possibility of making a powerful difference in the lives of many affected by domestic violence with support from the ABC Foundation.


[1] Mason, R., O’Rinn, S. (2014). Co-occurring intimate partner violence, mental health, and substance use problems: a scoping review. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.


*identifying information changed to protect anonymity of service provider and Foundation