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

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.