US

Leaving was the easy part: Domestic violence victims struggle to find affordable homes

  • Domestic violence survivor K, left, her name withheld for confidentiality, sits with her son for dinner in their new sparsely furnished apartment, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in New York. After leaving her husband who beat and controlled her for years, she and her little boy spent the next three years homeless because she couldn’t afford New York City rents.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Domestic violence survivor K, left, her name withheld for confidentiality, sits with her son for dinner in their new sparsely furnished apartment, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in New York. After leaving her husband who beat and controlled her for years, she and her little boy spent the next three years homeless because she couldn’t afford New York City rents. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  (The Associated Press)

  • Domestic violence survivor K, left, her name withheld for confidentiality, clears a table after dinner while  her son plays outside the kitchen doorway of their new apartment, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in New York.  After leaving her husband who beat and controlled her for years, K and her little boy spent the next three years homeless because she couldn’t afford New York City rents.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Domestic violence survivor K, left, her name withheld for confidentiality, clears a table after dinner while her son plays outside the kitchen doorway of their new apartment, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in New York. After leaving her husband who beat and controlled her for years, K and her little boy spent the next three years homeless because she couldn’t afford New York City rents. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  (The Associated Press)

  • Domestic violence survivor K, left, her name withheld for confidentiality, prepares dinner for her son while he plays outside the kitchen doorway of their new apartment, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in New York.  After leaving her husband who beat and controlled her for years, K and her little boy spent the next three years homeless because she couldn’t afford New York City rents.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Domestic violence survivor K, left, her name withheld for confidentiality, prepares dinner for her son while he plays outside the kitchen doorway of their new apartment, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in New York. After leaving her husband who beat and controlled her for years, K and her little boy spent the next three years homeless because she couldn’t afford New York City rents. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  (The Associated Press)

Survivors of domestic violence are struggling nationwide with a critical piece of recovery: finding a permanent home.

As rents skyrocket around the country, and public housing waiting lists grow ever longer, such victims often end up homeless for years — or go back to their abusers because they can't handle the stress.

One in four women will suffer domestic violence in their lifetimes, according to the advocacy group Safe Horizon. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says abuse is the third-leading cause of homelessness among families.

Because of the nature of the crime, victims, mostly women, often have no access to money, no recent job history, and no friends or family they can turn to.