Doorways to Launch “SafeStart” Initiative with $1.5M Federal Community Development Grant

New initiative will increase shelter and housing for survivors of abuse in Arlington

8 March 2024 – Arlington, VA – Doorways is set to receive $1.5 million in federal funding for SafeStart, a new initiative to increase the nonprofit’s shelter and housing for survivors and their families. SafeStart is one of only 15 projects sponsored by U.S. Congressman Don Beyer this fiscal year. 

Congressman Beyer secured funding for Doorways’ SafeStart through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which supports community development activities to build stronger and more resilient communities. “The $1,500,000 in federal funding I secured for Doorways will support the purchase of emergency housing units for low-income individuals and families experiencing sudden homelessness due to domestic or sexual violence,” said Congressman Beyer. “Amidst the lingering impacts of COVID and rising rent costs, our community has seen an increase in survivors and families fleeing imminent danger in their homes, straining Doorways’ ability to provide crucial services to them.” 

As Arlington’s only provider of safehousing for individuals and families who are homeless due to fleeing domestic and sexual violence, Doorways has been on the frontlines responding to the growing need. The CDBG funding creates the opportunity for Doorways to expand its capacity to serve more survivors. 

“In the last five years, the number of survivors and their children sheltered by Doorways has more than doubled,” said Doorways’ President and CEO Diana Ortiz, LPC, M.Ed. “Meanwhile, sources of funding including the federal Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA, have decreased significantly. We are grateful to Congressman Beyer for prioritizing survivors and helping Doorways secure the additional units we need to continue fulfilling our promise of safehousing for all.” 

“The number of survivors and their children sheltered by Doorways has more than doubled.”

Doorways’ SafeStart project and the repurposing of its Family Home shelter, a project slated for this summer and fall, are part of the agency’s broader strategy to expand and strengthen its safehousing infrastructure to meet the Arlington community’s growing needs. 

“This funding will provide Doorways with much needed assistance to continue protecting victims and survivors, including through supporting them as they work towards achieving the goal of stable, safe, and long-term housing,” said Congressman Beyer. “I am thankful to the leaders at Doorways for their support identifying and developing this project request and their steadfast commitment to helping survivors of violence heal and thrive.” 

Funds awarded to Doorways through CDBG must be matched one-to-one by the Arlington community. To learn more about Doorways and how to support survivors, visit  

About Doorways

Since 1978, Doorways has provided Arlington’s only emergency shelter for survivors of intimate partner violence. Today, Doorways’ dual state-accredited response to domestic and sexual violence includes community-based, shelter, and housing programs, as well as youth-driven prevention programing which empowers young people to stop abuse before it starts.  

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