Harris County Establishes New COVID-19 Domestic Violence Assistance Fund
HOUSTON, TX -- Judge Hidalgo today announced that Harris County Commissioners Court has approved $2,178,550 to support survivors of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding, approved by the court, will establish a Harris County COVID-19 Domestic Violence Assistance program to bridge gaps in assistance for survivors by providing an array of services including childcare, food, transportation and housing.
“This pandemic has laid bare the struggle so many survivors of domestic violence and their caregivers face each and every day in our community,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “We cannot afford to let anyone in Harris County fall through the cracks during this pandemic, and that includes those who deserve protection, care and support as a result of domestic violence. I want to thank everyone who continues to advocate on behalf of survivors including the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council for their work on this vital initiative.”
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in domestic violence and strained many of the services available to survivors in Harris County. Currently, shelters are at capacity and experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, as well as operating at lower availability due to social distancing and isolation needs. Dedicated financial assistance for agencies that provide lifesaving services serve as a vital lifeline for survivors of domestic violence during this pandemic.
Funding from this program may be used by eligible non-profits to support the following needs for domestic violence victims and survivors:
• Childcare support
• Food assistance, including the need for transportation to pick up food and supplies
• Transportation assistance (e.g., vehicle maintenance, bus/rail fare, overdue auto loan payments)
• Additional daily living supplies, including technology and internet access for schoolwork
• Rental and utility assistance for homelessness prevention
• Other uses deemed necessary and appropriate by program administrator to assist domestic violence
The Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC), an organization created to bring together community stakeholders to end domestic violence, will administer the program. HCDVCC will oversee application intake, selection, review, and reporting. Applications from eligible non-profit organizations will be selected based on potential impact and needs correlated to the current COVID-19 pandemic. More information on the application process and criteria will be available in the coming weeks.