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Higgins joins Community Services for Every1, Family Justice Center to announce $875,000 in federal funding to assist victims of domestic violence


Wed, Oct 7th 2020 01:30 pm

Grants support transitional housing & WNY’s first program targeted to help survivors with a disability

Congressman Brian Higgins joined Community Services for Every1 and the Family Justice Center to announce two federal grants from the Department of Justice totaling $875,000. The first, through the Office of Violence against Women in the amount of $550,000, provides resources for transitional housing and support services for individuals escaping domestic violence.

This grant is in addition to another DOJ grant in the amount of $325,000 the agencies received to support the region’s first domestic violence program designed to aid survivors with a disability.

“Community Services for Every1 is grateful for our partnership with the Family Justice Center and the support from the Department of Justice,” said Mindy Cervoni, president and CEO at Community Services for Every1. “Through these collaborations, we have been able to create the region’s first-ever domestic violence program geared towards helping individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability. We know this population is three times more likely to experience rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault and robbery than those without disabilities. Providing ample resources and a safe place for this population is our No. 1 goal. We cannot wait to continue this great work.”

Higgins said, “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home and yet, for some people, especially now when the pandemic dictates the need to spend more time at home, it is frightening and dangerous. Community Services for Every1 and the Family Justice Center not only provide incredible services individually, but they’ve teamed up to maximize what they can bring to victims of domestic violence in Western New York. These federal grants will go a long way in helping those in need escape violence and have a safe place to call home.”

The transitional housing grant will provide housing and services for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The services will focus on empowering victims and will provide resources to an underserved population in the Western New York region. Person-centric services will assist individuals by addressing each unique need on a case-by-case basis. Supports include rent and utility assistance, case management, safety planning, child care, individual counseling, support groups and legal assistance.

“The Family Justice Center exists to plug gaps in services for victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. That’s why we partner with Community Services for Every1. Life-threatening gaps, especially when it comes to transitional housing for our disabled survivors, must be addressed. This funding is exactly what we need. We are beyond grateful,” said Mary Murphy, CEO at the Family Justice Center.

Together, both agencies form HOPE of WNY as a collaboration to assist disabled individuals who have been victim of domestic violence. Through this partnership, HOPE of WNY is the first of its kind in the region. In building this relationship, both agencies discovered the Buffalo-Niagara Region was lacking the appropriate resources to adequately help survivors with a disability. This collaboration specializes in helping survivors who have an intellectual/developmental disability. Community Services for Every1 was the first in the nation to provide a safe house specifically designed for people with developmental disabilities who were victims of domestic violence, crimes and/or abuse. 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. For individuals who may have been victims of domestic violence, Community Services and the Family Justice Center can provide assistance by contacting 716-558-SAFE. 

The mission at Community Services is to partner with individuals of all abilities to reach their fullest potential, protecting their rights and promoting their independence and inclusion in our community.

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