Bella’s First Car – Economic Empowerment

99% of domestic violence situations involve financial abuse. The ability to make and act on decisions that involve control over and allocation of financial resources is imperative to breaking the cycle of abuse. Financial independence is key to domestic violence survivors’ ability to live violence-free lives. Unfortunately, many survivors have limited financial freedom due to abusers deliberately destroying their financial security.

*Bella was referred to Harbor House after fleeing a brutal attack from her partner. Upon finding safe haven in our emergency shelter, she began working with a case manager to develop a plan tailored to her needs to assist in remaining free from violence. Bella soon realized that her domestic violence situation was not only categorized as physical abuse, but also financial abuse; her partner restricted her financial independence by not allowing her to work.

Our Economic Justice Housing Coordinator worked endlessly with Bella to obtain a work visa, social security number, and a temporary drivers license that allowed her to find a job that not only provided steady income, but made her proud. The income from Bella’s new job allowed her to afford an apartment on her own and achieve financial independence. Although Bella no longer needed our emergency shelter services, she still continued working with her advocate while starting her new life, in her new home.

One of Bella’s financial goals was purchasing her first car, which she had been saving for throughout her stay in the emergency shelter. However, many obstacles were in her path to purchasing a vehicle – a challenging immigration case that caused higher down payments and interest rates that made this goal feel unattainable.

After countless hours of research and many hopeless conversations with car dealerships, our advocates were able to support Bella and find a local dealership with a compassionate salesman who helped Bella purchase a pre-owned vehicle! Utilizing our matching program, Bella was able to meet her goal of purchasing her first vehicle and achieve what she would call economic empowerment. Bella now has more opportunities to continue gaining financial independence and achieve all of the goals she has set for herself and her daughter.

Harbor House of Central Florida strives year-round to provide economic justice and empowerment support to help survivors find financial independence and break the cycle of abuse. Our advocates work with survivors towards financial literacy from the first crisis line phone call.

If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse, please contact our 24/7 confidential hotline at 407-886-2856 to speak with a trained advocate for financial safety planning and to initiate services for economic empowerment.


*Name changed to protect identity.