October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Shedding light on a public health crisis that is being fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic

Commission Meeting Declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month

(October 1, 2020) Hamilton County Commissioners are turning up the volume on recognizing  October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Social distancing and other safety measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 may actually contribute to an increase in domestic violence by isolating victims at home with their abusers and away from services and shelters. 

Dressed in purple, Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas introduced the proclamation. “Purple is meant to be a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending violence.” 

Beyond the proclamation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, commissioners have made strategic investments and policy decisions to support survivors as they overcome physical and emotional abuse.  Earlier this year, Commissioners amended the family leave policy to provide additional leave for victims of domestic abuse. 

Recently, Commissioners reserved $500,000 in CARES Act funding to target nonprofits that specifically serve domestic violence survivors including: Women Helping Women, YWCA Greater Cincinnati Domestic Violence Services, and Franciscan Ministries, Inc. Tamar's Center - Helping Women on the Streets. 

Hamilton County CARES Nonprofit Relief Program - Domestic Violence

Women Helping Women - $119,296

Services to be Provided: Crisis intervention services for Domestic Violence Survivors.
Grant funds will allow WHW to continue DVERT response in the City of Cincinnati, Delhi Township, North College Hill and the City of Norwood, while expanding services to a second zone and cover 10 additional jurisdictions; Green Township (Sheriff and Non Sheriff jurisdiction), Colerain Township, Springfield Township, Forest Park, Mt. Healthy, Cheviot, St. Bernard, Lockland, Arlington Heights and Lincoln Heights.

One third of the funds will be used to provide emergency assistance to survivors.  This includes hotel stays, lock changes, transportation, clothing, food and other assistance critical to ensuring safety.  

Additional funds will be used to upgrade the current accounting software to allow seamless day to day financial operations, including processing emergency payments for vendors for client assistance, offsite; as well as improvements to the current VPN system to a cloud based system allowing for uninterrupted access to critical resources and documents needed to provide a seamless service to survivors.

YWCA Greater Cincinnati Domestic Violence Services - $49,236

Services to be Provided: Domestic violence supportive services.
In addition to operating the only shelter and housing for domestic violence victims in Hamilton County, YWCA provides a range of non-residential violence intervention services designed to keep domestic violence survivors safe. Grant funds will be used to cover pandemic pay staffs who are engaged in direct (face-to-face) services with clients and/or community during COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are also being used to pay to cover additional costs for laptops, printers, software and cell phone allowances for staff to work remotely. Additional PPE supplies are also included in the budget. 

Franciscan Ministries, Inc. Tamar's Center - Helping Women on the Streets  - $25,975

Services to be Provided: Supportive services including food, help with housing, computer access for appointments, basic hygiene supplies, and transportation assistance.
Tamar's Center is a program that addresses the most basic human needs of women on the streets. Following that, we support and connect the women to other services to assist their next level needs. Women on the streets are especially vulnerable in normal circumstances, but during the first part of the pandemic having access to food, safe shelter, hygiene supplies, and finding clean water for drinking and hand washing made everything even more challenging. 

Grant funds will provide for office retrofits to improve distance for clients, for portable air filtration units in largest rooms, additional PPE for both staff and clients and no-touch hand sanitizer dispensers, cleaning and disinfection products, hygiene supplies, and additional food. 

Direct assistance for clients includes housing deposits and first month's rent, as well as transportation to medical and mental health appointments (including detox or rehab facilities) and moving to new housing. A portion of the funds will pay the balance for a new larger van to provide distance for clients and staff. Enhanced WiFi equipment and two additional computers for clients are also included.

Posted on 10/01/2020