(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), announced with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) over $1 million for New Hampshire organizations to provide transitional housing and other housing assistance to domestic and sexual violence survivors. HAVEN Violence Prevention and Support Services, located in Portsmouth, Epping and Rochester, will receive $625,000 and Bridges: Domestic & Sexual Violence Support Services will receive $400,000 through the OVW’s Transitional Housing Program.
“Domestic and sexual violence survivors and their families are among our most vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially when stay-at-home orders were in effect and as we continue to maintain social distance practices, survivors face significant hurdles in seeking shelter safely away from their abusers. This funding could not come at a more critical time,” said Senator Shaheen. “HAVEN and Bridges provide vital services to survivors, and positioned in our state’s Southern Tier and Seacoast communities, will have the ability to cover a large portion of our state to provide housing assistance to those who need it. As the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds these grants and the Office on Violence Against Women, I’ll keep fighting for more federal resources in upcoming government funding legislation.”
“These federal grants to HAVEN and Bridges will help expand much-needed resources, including housing, for survivors of domestic and sexual violence as they move forward,” Senator Hassan said. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain support services in New Hampshire and across the country, I will keep working to secure additional resources to help our most vulnerable populations during this challenging time.”
“After experiencing something as traumatic as sexual or domestic violence, no survivor should have to worry about having a safe place to live away from their abuser, especially during the current COVID-19 health crisis,” said Representative Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “This grant funding will help crisis centers bolster their efforts to provide housing for survivors in need, as well as strengthen support for survivors in other critical areas like child care, career counseling, and educational attainment. I’m very pleased by this development, and I will continue working to support survivors and ensure they have access to the services they need to reclaim their lives and heal from trauma.”
“There has been an alarming increase in incidence of domestic violence, and shelters and transitional housing across the country are at capacity,” said Representative Pappas. “These funds will go a long way in ensuring survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are able to receive the support and resources they need. Everyone deserves safe housing, and this funding will get help more survivors find it.”
“HAVEN helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence to navigate through their journeys and to find safety and self-sufficiency,” said Kathy Beebe, Executive Director of HAVEN. “This federal OVW grant will help to ensure that even more survivors and families are able to secure safe and permanent housing by reducing the financial barriers survivors face and expanding HAVEN’s wraparound support services. We appreciate our Congressional delegation for their continued advocacy on behalf of survivors and NH’s crisis centers.”
“Bridges is proud to receive these federal funds and is grateful to our Congressional delegation for continuing to stand with survivors. Over the years, this grant has allowed our agency to help hundreds of survivors and families move from violence, homelessness and poverty to lives of self-sufficiency,” said Dawn Reams, Executive Director of Bridges. “Our transitional housing program is among the most successful programs we have ever created, with a 98% success rate among those we have assisted. This OVW grant makes it possible for us to identify affordable housing in the community and build relationships with landlords to ultimately provide long-term, safe housing for the survivors and families we serve and to provide wrap-around services to help survivors stand on their own two feet.”
“Helping survivors of domestic and sexual violence access adequate, affordable and safe housing is essential to their long-term healing and recovery. Survivors face unique barriers and challenges to accessing housing, and this has grown increasingly difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in a state like New Hampshire that is already experiencing a housing crisis,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs for the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “We are grateful that both Bridges and Haven have been awarded this incredible grant opportunity and know that this funding will be pivotal to supporting survivors in achieving housing stability in a time when they need it the most. We sincerely thank our members of congress for their incredible commitment to survivors. ”
Throughout the pandemic, the New Hampshire congressional delegation has been working to provide more resources and services to domestic violence survivors nationwide. Senators Shaheen and Hassan have called on Congressional leadership multiple times to include additional funding to support the victims of family violence, domestic violence and dating violence in the fourth COVID-19 legislative package. In addition, last month, Shaheen and Hassan introduced the Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act, strongly-supported bicameral legislation to protect domestic violence survivors from gun violence.
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to establish basic rights and protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Her bill, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was signed into law in 2016 and created the first federally codified rights specifically for sexual assault survivors and for the first time allowed survivors the opportunity to enforce those rights in federal court. Last year, Shaheen introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the States Act to build on the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act by incentivizing states to pass legislation that guarantees the survivors rights included in the federal legislation. For the third year in a row, Senator Shaheen – Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the OVW – successfully added the highest funding amount ever for Violence Against Women Act programs in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 government funding.