Mayor announces funding to support victims of domestic violence
SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn today announced new City investments to support domestic violence victims in Seattle as part of his 2014 Proposed Budget.
A total of nearly $438,000 in investments would fund support for critically needed housing for domestic violence survivors and their children ($200,000); development of a domestic violence response center that would provide multiple, coordinated services in one location ($125,000); and a manager position in the Human Services Department to lead the city's efforts to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault ($113,000).
"Victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable members of our community," said Mayor McGinn. "We are committed to helping break the cycle of violence through access to housing and coordinated services."
Domestic violence (DV) is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children, as many victims who flee abusers have no place to go. In Seattle, the homeless service system is over capacity and specialized emergency, transitional, and long-term housing for DV survivors is even more limited. An estimated 17-25 people are turned away from DV shelters for every one who can be housed. In surveys and focus groups conducted by the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCCADV) in 2013 with DV survivors and human services providers, the lack of emergency and long-term housing options was the service gap most cited by DV survivors.
"This funding is a good step forward on one of the most critical public safety issues in our community," said Councilmember Richard Conlin, who added that "this budget addition will take a big step toward ensuring that victims of domestic violence are personally safe."
This new budget addition ($200,000) will expand and maintain supportive long-term housing assistance for DV survivors and their children. Services will focus on two areas: (a) prevention of homelessness through eviction prevention and other housing stability services; or, (b) housing survivors in permanent housing. The target population is individuals and families affected by domestic violence who are homeless or are at immediate risk of becoming homeless. Expanding this service will help some DV survivors move on from temporary housing more quickly, opening more space in shelters and transitional housing programs, and will also help prevent some survivors from entering the shelter system or risking homelessness.
Based on experiences from programs in Washington state that have implemented similar models, $200,000 in investment is estimated to provide assistance for 40-48 new families (96-120 individuals).
The Proposed Budget also funds a DV manager position in the Seattle Human Services Department ($113,000). The manager for the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Prevention (DVSAP) team will be the Human Services Department's lead on developing and sustaining a continuum of services and investments to address basic safety needs and help reduce domestic violence and sexual assault in our community.
The Proposed Budget will also support the development of a domestic violence response center in Seattle ($125,000). A domestic violence response center would allow for domestic violence victims identified by the law enforcement system to be served more holistically with enhanced collaboration and seamless services. The domestic violence response center would provide the co-location of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who would work together under one roof to provide coordinated services to victims of family violence. It would also provide an additional resource for DV survivors not involved in the criminal justice system.
The core concept is to provide one place where victims can go to talk to an advocate, plan for their safety, interview with a police officer (if they choose to), meet with a prosecutor, receive medical assistance, receive information on resources, and obtain assistance with basic needs.
The mayor's investment will fund approximately half of the estimated annual operating costs for the first year (2014) of the Seattle domestic violence response center project. This cost would also include fees related to the planning and implementation of the Seattle domestic violence response center.
Mayor McGinn also announced that the City of Seattle's Human Services Department has been awarded continuation grants totaling nearly $1.2 million from the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women. These awards will fund the continuation and expansion of the following programs:
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