Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you have a crisis hotline? When is it staffed?
A: AWS has a toll-free, crisis hotline at 1-877-751-0880. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Q: Whom does AWS serve?
A: AWS shelter services are open to all survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, including to those with disabilities. Other non-shelter services, including community-building activities and our crisis hotline are open to anyone.
Q: How many people can be housed at AWS?
A: AWS has a bed capacity of 15-18 people, including children. In terms of case management, each advocate (two women's advocates and two children's advocates) is able to take four cases at any given time.
Q: Do you have to pay rent to stay at the shelter? Is there a time limit?
A: Like all domestic violence emergency shelters, there is no rent for staying at AWS. As in most emergency shelters, the majority of residents stay at the shelter from 3 to 4 months. However, due to the multiple barriers that most residents face - including immigration, legal, and economic difficulties - extensions can be given.
Q: Do you offer legal or mental health services at the shelter?
A: AWS offers a safe shelter and intensive, one-to-one case management for all residents. Although legal and mental health services are not provided on-site, AWS works with over 20 different community-based organizations that offer a gamut of services, including legal and mental health services. The majority of AWS's residents work with attorneys from Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO) for legal services and with clinical workers from San Francisco General Hospital and Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) and independent clinical workers throughout the city for mental health support.
Q: What are your office hours?
A: Our general office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday. If you have an emergency, you can call the crisis hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Q: I don't speak English very well, or at all. Can you still help me?
A: The majority of AWS residents and people we serve are either non- or limited-English speakers. AWS's bicultural, bilingual staff and our pool of MultiLingual Language advocates (MLAMs) provide support in 34 different languages and dialects. If you speak a language that is not spoken by staff or by one of our MLAMs, AWS will work with you to find an appropriate translator/interpreter.
Q: Where is your shelter located?
A: AWS is located in San Francisco County. For our residents' safety, the exact location of the shelter is kept confidential.
Q: AWS is a non-hierarchical, consensus-based organization. What does that really mean?
A: We're an organization founded on the principle of ending all forms of violence and oppression and we have integrated this important principle into our organizational structure. AWS has a flat or horizontal staff structure; there is no management team, entourage of assistants, or cleaning/janitorial crew. Every staff member files her own paperwork, cleans her own work area and creates her own work plan. However, all staff members are accountable to their individual teams, to each other, to the entire agency and to all of AWS's constituencies.