Samaritan House is committed to fostering personal safety, growth and self-sufficiency in adults and their children through the freedom from sexual and domestic violence, and homelessness.
Since 1984, Samaritan House has provided emergency housing, transitional housing, and community outreach to victims of domestic violence and homeless families. We own and operate ten safe houses for emergency shelter for families fleeing domestic violence and homelessness, provide trauma informed services for violence victims and their children in transitional housing. In our emergency and transitional programs we shelter about 110 people per night as well as providing affordable housing at fair market value. Our children’s program works with our youth (approximately 65% of the people we serve) to establish healthy relationships, build self-confidence, increase academic performance, and ultimately break the cycles of violence and homelessness.
Samaritan House programs and services are guided by the empowerment theory and model of practice. We involve ourselves in the change process by developing a helping relationship with each individual based on trust and shared power. We believe that all people have the capability of improving their own lives and we respect the right to self-determination by each person. We build upon an individual’s identified strengths, mobilize resources, and teach new skills that will directly improve the interactions between each person and the various systems they interact with in order to survive and thrive.
We recognize that family violence is a complex social problem and not the effect of individual deficits. We maintain the empowerment perspective and believe that battered women and men are not victims of violence by choice and that given adequate support, resources, and opportunities, they will choose violence-free lives for themselves and their children.
We acknowledge that discrimination, economic deprivation, and oppression impede a person’s ability to move from poverty and homelessness to economic stability. Our advocacy efforts secure resources and services that individuals and families are entitled to and are unable to obtain on their own. We are dedicated to serving the community and offer hope, healing, and change to all those who seek out Samaritan House services.
In 1984, the Virginia Beach interfaith community, which offered support to the Virginia Beach Department of Social Services, found that many service agencies were asking for assistance in providing shelter and food for homeless families. As the need was becoming more than the individual churches had the resources to meet, a task force was formed to address local and regional homelessness, and a four-bedroom shelter for homeless families was opened in 1985 and Samaritan House was born.
Under the name of Virginia Beach Ecumenical Housing, Inc., Samaritan House was incorporated in 1984 and opened its first shelter in 1985 for homeless families. Within five years, Samaritan House expanded services to respond to homelessness resulting from domestic violence, beginning the mission of domestic violence crisis intervention and prevention.
Samaritan House now hosts a 24-hour crisis hotline and provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, low cost affordable housing and supportive services that promote safety, self-sufficiency and healing to families in crisis and victims of domestic violence. In addition to our housing units, we operate the Patricia and Douglas Perry Safe Harbor Center. This facility is used for our children’s program, various support and training groups, the Victim Advocacy Program, our case management staff, a 24-hour crisis hotline, and our administrative offices.
Samaritan House is dedicated to identifying and eliminating the root causes of homelessness and domestic violence wherever possible through education, advocacy, community outreach and intervention. Our Prevention & Education programs present workshops and trainings to middle school, high school and college students; the medical community; law enforcement, the faith-based community, civic organizations, the military, and the general public. We host awareness campaigns throughout the year and participate in legal advocacy efforts on issues related to domestic violence.