(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced that the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women has awarded a $350,000 Transitional Housing Assistance Grant to the Bridges Domestic & Sexual Violence Support Services. The Transitional Housing Assistance Program provides aid to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking who are homeless, or in need of transitional housing or other housing assistance.
“Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors have many obstacles to overcome – safe and reliable housing should not be one of them,” said Senator Shaheen. “I applaud the work of the Bridges Domestic & Sexual Violence Support Services, who provide survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with shelter and critical services. Violence against women remains a serious threat in homes and communities across the country, and we must continue to work together to empower survivors with the tools they need to recover and rebuild.”
“Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in New Hampshire and across the country have faced indescribable horror, and we must ensure that they have the support they need to be safe and thrive,” Senator Hassan said. “I am glad that the Department of Justice has awarded a federal grant to Bridges Domestic and Sexual Violence Support Services, which provides critical services to survivors in New Hampshire. While this funding is a positive step, we have much more work to do to protect too many women and children who face violence at home and in their daily lives, and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that survivors have the resources they need and that the perpetrators of this violence are brought to justice.”
“Bridges is honored to receive this grant award to provide scattered site transitional housing and supportive services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence in Southern Hillsborough County,” said Dawn Reams, Executive Director of Bridges Domestic & Sexual Violence Support Services. “This will be the seventh year of receiving this grant, and it is among the most successful and impactful programs that Bridges has implemented. This program will help survivors establish safe and stable housing, and self-sufficiency.”
The Bridges Domestic and Sexual Violence Support Services is a non-profit organization in Nashua, New Hampshire. Bridges will use the funds to provide both housing and supportive services to move survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking who are homeless to permanent housing. Specifically, the grant award will help the organization to provide 39 scattered site residences for 39 survivors and their families through private landlord housing units. The range of optional support services will include rental and utility assistance, case management, safety planning, childcare, transportation, career counseling, financial and credit counseling, support groups, job training, education attainment, legal advocacy for immigrant survivors and housing advocacy. The Bridges will also collaborate with its partner, the Front Door Agency, to provide a holistic, survivor-centered and multidisciplinary approach to transitional housing needs in the community.
Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen introduced the Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act of 2017, which would establish a nationwide standard that survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault cannot be evicted or denied access to housing solely for being victims of those crimes. With the new protections included in this legislation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be provided clear and direct authority to protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault from housing discrimination.
Senator Hassan cosponsored the bipartisan Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, legislation that would help human trafficking victims by clearing any federal convictions for nonviolent crimes from criminal records. Senators Shaheen and Hassan also joined a bipartisan group of their colleagues in reintroducing the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which would reform the way colleges and universities address and report incidents of sexual assault that occur on their campuses. Then-Governor Hassan signed legislation establishing the crime of domestic violence in New Hampshire, and signed additional bipartisan legislation to strengthen protections for human trafficking survivors.