Unless Funds Are Replaced, Local Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Abuse Will Pay the Price
Millions of dollars in lost state funding is threatening to disrupt services for Western North Carolina (WNC) victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking, as well as similar services across the state.
The grants, which come from the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission’s allocation of federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funds, are scheduled to end on September 30, 2021.
Helpmate is losing $566,000 in VOCA funding over the next two years. Other local nonprofits that have also lost funding include: Pisgah Legal Services, Our VOICE, and The Mediation Center. See how these organizations work together to serve clients effectively and compassionately.
What Impact Will This Have on People Here in WNC?
- This grant is foundational to Helpmate’s work. These grant dollars fund services in shelter, court advocacy, and case management. This is a loss of funding for five full-time advocates as well as direct financial assistance for emergency survivor needs.
- Court advocates serve 800 survivors a year as they seek legal remedies to secure safety and hold the perpetrator accountable. Child and family case managers provide specialized services to 395 families annually; these services mitigate the impact of family violence on children. Helpmate provides shelter for about 225 individuals per year. Advocates deliver services to survivors in the highest danger and with the fewest resources.
- Helpmate experienced a significant increase in demand during the pandemic, providing shelter for 50% more people from April to September of 2020 compared with the prior year. Even during the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic, Helpmate is dedicated to answering every hotline call, providing shelter for those fleeing terror in their own homes, and accompanying survivors as they create lives free from violence.
Why Did Helpmate Lose VOCA Funding?
- The VOCA fund is filled by fines and penalties from federal prosecutions and a change in administrative process over the past several years greatly depleted the fund. VOCA grant dollars have decreased nationally, and the impact on the state and WNC is severe.
Can the Funds be Replaced?
- There is a bipartisan solution moving through Congress to fix the issue. Unfortunately, even after this solution, known as the “VOCA Fix,” is enacted, it will take four to five years to feel the impact for programs in our community that rely on these funds.
- Replacement funding is critically needed from state and local governments, donors, faith communities, and foundations to mitigate this loss and prevent a dire lack of services for victims.
- State and local governments could use American Rescue Plan Act funds to fill these gaps. Foundations could make substantial grants to ensure victims are served during this critical period. Gifts from individuals, corporations, and faith groups will be essential.
How Can I Help?
Contact these elected state officials to encourage them to replace this important community funding:
- Tim Moore, Speaker of the N.C. House, Tim.Moore@ncleg.gov, (919) 733-3451
- Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore of the N.C. Senate, Phil.Berger@ncleg.gov, (919) 733-5708
Senior Chairs of the N.C. House Appropriations Committee:
- Dean Arp, Dean.Arp@ncleg.gov, (704) 282-0418
- Donny Lambeth, Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.gov, (919) 733-5747
- Jason Saine, Jason.Saine@ncleg.gov, (919)733-5782
Chairs of the N.C. Senate Appropriations Committee: