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Healing abuse—and working for change

Healing Abuse Working for Change, Salem, MA

In the words of Anthony DiPietro, Executive Director of HAWC (pictured above with HAWC leadership team), “Abusers are master manipulators. They tend to use whatever works to maintain power over their partner.”

One way to break that power is to leave—which is why emergency shelters for victims of domestic abuse are so critical. In Massachusetts, there is a huge unmet need for such shelters, a need HAWC is trying to fill.

HAWC provides comprehensive services and support to victims of domestic violence in 23 cities and towns on Massachusetts’s North Shore. They have three counseling centers and an emergency family shelter, a place for people—both women and men—to live while they build real, sustainable options for their future. That can take awhile. “Some people stay as long as six months,” DiPietro explains. “Last year our average stay was 50 days.” The shelter is usually fully occupied, and often HAWC has to refer those in need to other area shelters or resources—sometimes across state lines.

HAWC built the shelter in 2010 with benchmark dates for refinancing. The first benchmark was 2015; that is when they discovered BCC. “We found that BCC could be much more flexible about the terms of our loan than a traditional bank would have to be,” DiPietro continues. “They were able to help us preserve our cash.”

“As part of the security for our loan, we made an investment in their loan portfolio. It not only earns interest for us, it is used for other projects, so it’s a great mission match for us, as well.”

“It was a real pleasure to work with BCC,” he adds. “Not only do they understand our mission, the fact that they are a nonprofit that supports other nonprofits makes it feel good to be in business with them.”

Photo credit: Marilyn Humphries

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cities served by HAWC