$4.7 million Domestic Violence Assistance Fund

26 Oct, 22

Money will Help Survivors Successfully Leave Abusive Situations and Seek Stability

WHAT: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and advocates – responding to the county’s rising domestic violence reports that include homicides – will announce a $4.7 million Domestic Violence Assistance Fund to help victims. The announcement comes during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which raises awareness for domestic violence victims and survivors. Speakers also will discuss gun violence and easy access to guns that only make the problem worse. Reports of domestic violence increased locally, nationally, and globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Texas, 204 people were killed by intimate partners in 2021 and 46 (22%) were in Harris County.

WHO: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Alicia Nuzzie, Director of Harris County Domestic Violence High-Risk Team (DVHRT), Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council
Olivia Rivers, Executive Director, The Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Sonia Corrales, Deputy CEO, Houston Area Women’s Center
Rachna Khare, Executive Director, DAYA.

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, 10 AM

WHERE: Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council | 2990 Richmond Ave, Suite 550, Houston, 77098

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and advocates on Wednesday, Oct. 26 will announce a $4.7 million Domestic Violence Assistance Fund that will help reduce domestic violence incidents that sometimes result in homicides.

“Family violence affects everyone, but women of color are most likely to be harmed,” Commissioner Ellis said. “While 1 in 3 white women report having experienced domestic violence during the pandemic, the rates of abuse were 50% and higher for those marginalized by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, and cognitive physical ability.” 

Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC) will administer program funds provided by Harris County and be responsible for application intake, review and approval. HCDVCC provides technical assistance and capacity-building support for smaller recipient organizations.

The program, which uses American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, will support approximately 3,800 households and 6,650 individuals. It provides flexible financial assistance to domestic violence survivors via grants to nonprofit, community-based organizations that serve survivors.

Money can be used to cover basic needs for victims to successfully leave abusive situations and seek stability. Eligible costs include housing, transportation, childcare, utilities, and other expenses 

“Flexible financial assistance gives survivors a chance to leave and stay away from abusive situations,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Social service agencies can’t provide all the resources people need because Harris County has the highest turn-away rate for domestic violence shelters due to high demand and lack of space.”

Service providers that qualify for the program will be Harris County organizations that can propose a program to help bridge gaps in services for survivors. They must show they have previous experience working with domestic violence survivors, especially populations who are overrepresented among domestic violence survivors, such as survivors of color, LGBTQ persons, victims with limited English proficiency, and low-income individuals.  

In Texas, 204 people were killed by intimate partners in 2021. Of that number, 46, or 22% of those victims, were in Harris County. Domestic violence-related homicides throughout Texas increased by 23% in 2020. 

“We know this model works,” Commissioner Ellis said. “In 2020, we helped about 4,500 people with flexible financial assistance using CARES dollars. Almost every household included children.”