83 Domestic Violence Programs and Shelters to Receive More Than $16 Million for COVID Testing and Vaccinations and to Support Services in Underserved Communities
$7.6 Million Earmarked to Support 50 Rape Crisis Centers and Sexual Assault Programs
Critical Funding to Help Domestic Violence Programs Serve Uptick in Survivors and Offset Unprecedented Fiscal Challenges Triggered by Pandemic
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New York State 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 COVID 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," Governor 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 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. 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."
Senator Charles E. Schumer said, "Supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is a critical mission, and I applaud Governor 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."
Senator 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."
Representative Jerrold Nadler said, "I am thrilled to see this funding going toward domestic violence and sexual assault programs in New York. These programs help thousands of New Yorkers every year and this critical funding will ensure these programs can continue to offer support and resources to survivors. I am particularly happy to see that more than $4 million will be going to New York City. I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership on this and I look forward to continuing to work with her moving forward."
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, "Domestic violence affects families across my district and in communities throughout our state. I commend Governor Hochul on today's announcement to allocate this federal funding, which I helped secure in Congress, to provide additional resources for domestic violence and sexual assault programs throughout New York. The rise in need for these services has been a tragic side-effect of the pandemic, and we must continue our efforts in support of the dedicated organizations providing care to victims, survivors, and families. This funding will help offset the fiscal challenges these programs have experienced in recent years in order to extend the important work they do, including the expanded access to COVID-19 prevention through vaccinations, testing sites, and health care for those in need."
Representative Mondaire Jones said, "With $24 million in federal funding from the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act and American Rescue Plan, which I'm proud to have helped pass in Congress, Governor Hochul is distributing much-needed support to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors throughout New York State. There is no doubt that violence against women is a nationwide epidemic, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an uptick in survivors seeking help. From providing COVID testing and vaccinations to expanding vital services to survivors in underserved communities, this funding will be critical in protecting survivors and brings us one step closer to ending this epidemic once and for all."
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
- Mid-Hudson: $2,859,754
- 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 services, these federal funds will assist with workforce stabilization and ensure continuity of services for survivors.
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, Governor 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 Governor 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 Governor 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 Governor 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."