83 domestic violence programs and shelters to receive more than $16 million for COVID testing and vaccinations, to support services in underserved communities
√ $7.6 million earmarked to support 50 rape crisis centers and sexual assault programs
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced New York is distributing nearly $24 million in federal funding to domestic violence programs and shelters, sexual assault programs, and rape crisis centers. The funding will help these programs expand on-site coronavirus testing and vaccination availability, offset fiscal challenges caused by the pandemic, better reach underserved communities, and support the recent uptick in survivors seeking help.
"My mother opened a home for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence, so providing services to this vulnerable population is an issue is close to my heart," Hochul said. "The pandemic has tragically led to a rise in domestic and gender-based violence, and this funding is critical to ensuring that survivors can safely access the help and services they need."
Funded through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act and American Rescue Plan, 83 domestic violence programs and centers will receive $16.3 million in funding, which will support access to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and mobile health units. It will also augment traditional domestic violence services for rural communities, culturally specific programs and underserved communities. Additionally, 50 rape crisis centers and sexual assault programs are receiving $7.6 million to support their services, while also enhancing measures to prevent and mitigate COVID-19. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services is administering the funding.
OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "The last thing domestic violence and sexual assault survivors should have to worry about is protecting their health when they're seeking crucial services to heal and move their lives forward. OCFS is very pleased to administer these funds, which will make a meaningful difference in the lives of survivors and help prevent the spread of COVID."
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said, "Supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is a critical mission, and I applaud Gov. Hochul for wisely investing some of the federal funds I secured for New York through the American Relief Plan for these worthy organizations. On the same day that we in Congress have reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, I am pleased these funds will be used for domestic violence and rape crisis services in rural and other underserved areas, while also taking action to prevent COVID."
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, "New York's rape crisis centers and sexual assault programs work tirelessly to support survivors, providing critical services like hotlines, safety planning, shelter, and medical assistance, including COVID testing and vaccines. Amidst a concerning uptick in domestic violence, I'm proud to have fought to pass the American Rescue Plan that helped provide the funding for these essential organizations. I'll keep fighting to bring home federal resources to support survivors and fight sexual violence in New York state."
Provider funding breakdown, by region:
Capital Region: $2,354,675
Central New York: $1,828,638
Finger Lakes: $2,410,368
Long Island: $2,321,091
Mohawk Valley: $1,368,411
North Country: $1,283,045
New York City: $4,492,056
Southern Tier: $1,337,656.00
Western New York: $2,828,350
Multiple Regions*: $821,700
*One provider is receiving both rape crisis center and sexual assault funding in one award that covers 11 counties in three economic regions.
In the pandemic's second year, domestic violence services providers have reported an increased number of survivors asking for assistance, as well as an increase in the severity of abuse. The pandemic has also created unprecedented fiscal challenges to domestic violence service providers across the state.
In addition to enhancing COVID-19 services, these federal funds will assist with workforce stabilization and ensure continuity of services for survivors.
Hochul’s team said, “The funding for sexual assault programs and rape crisis centers supports the needs of survivors impacted by the public health emergency, and promotes the continuity of services in local communities. It will help programs transition to virtual/remote services and help cover the costs of supplies to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the COVID-19 virus. Funding can also be used for workforce stability or expansions.”
New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens said, "COVID-19 continues to impact survivors of domestic and sexual violence who experience isolation, fear and financial stress that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Domestic and sexual violence programs will now have additional funding to support all survivors with COVID-related needs. The funding also aligns with the Hochul administration's initiatives to expand domestic and sexual violence services to be more survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive. Thank you, Gov. Hochul, for prioritizing survivors."
New York State Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "It is clear that the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault as they seek safety and stability for themselves and their families. At OVS, we are proud to support a comprehensive network of programs and services to support survivors. I thank Gov. Hochul and colleagues from sister state agencies for their dedication to ensuring that this critical support is available whenever and wherever it is needed."
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Connie Neal said, "Domestic violence advocates have reported significant increases in the demand for services as well as disconcerting trends in the complexity of survivors' experiences since the pandemic began. We thank Gov. Hochul and OCFS for making this funding available for supporting the emergency needs of domestic violence survivors and their children, enhancing their safety and overall wellbeing, and prioritizing workforce stabilization at advocacy programs across the state."
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Joanne Zannoni said, "We are grateful for the support of Gov. Hochul and OCFS during these incredibly difficult times for sexual assault survivors and the advocates who serve them. Survivors' needs have overwhelmed our programs. These added resources will make a difference for those who are trying to heal from sexual violence and exploitation."