When companies give back to their communities, they are investing in the future of those communities, as well as giving employees a chance to participate in volunteer work they otherwise wouldn’t have the time or resources to. Giving back helps build company morale and shows employees and the community that the company stands by its values. Now more than ever, employees want to work with companies that are value-aligned, and they expect their employers to follow through on doing something with those values.
Giving back to the community is one of Flint’s main values. This year, to help celebrate the National Week Without Violence, which happens mid-October, Flint helped furnish and stock a three-bedroom apartment and a two-bedroom apartment with the YWCA for their Supportive Housing Program. Flint employees worked together to shop for and purchase the items needed to make the apartment feel homey, comfortable and safe.
It is estimated that 20% of women in the United States experience domestic violence, and in our area that number is even higher. In North Dakota, about 29% of women experience intimate partner violence, and 33.9% of women in Minnesota experience intimate partner violence. These kinds of violence can lead to homelessness, depression, suicide, sexual and reproductive health issues, and PTSD.
It can be incredibly difficult for women to leave abusive situations. Some may choose not to leave out of shame, embarrassment or denial, or because they fear retaliation from their abuser. For many, there is nowhere else to go. They may be financially dependent on their abuser or know their family won’t have shelter or resources to start over.
The YWCA’s Supportive Housing Program offers a woman and her family the opportunity to stay in a safe apartment where they receive support from YWCA staff members and pay only 30% of their annual income. Offering this kind of safe and supportive environment empowers women escaping abusive situations to get back on their feet and transition into a new, independent life.
Places like the YWCA are vital to ensuring that women and children who’ve experienced domestic violence, homelessness or other crises have a safe place to go and resources to help them get back on their feet. The YWCA serves over 300 individuals every single day, providing individuals and families with hygiene products, shelter, resources and, maybe most importantly, a chance for a better life.