Legislative Agenda 2023
2024-2026 Budget Requests for Increased Funding to support the work of the Coalition and its 15 regional Domestic Violence Shelter Programs.
LIVING WAGES & COMPETITIVE BENEFITS:
The Reality: Our programs are still unable to retain qualified, skilled advocates to provide essential and specialized services. Advocates are essential workers that provide crisis intervention, counseling, case management, court accompaniment, housing referrals, and safety planning to survivors experiencing a breadth of issues beyond their trauma of domestic violence including homelessness, poverty, mental health, and substance use issues.
The Solution: A sustainable living wage and competitive benefits such as health, dental, and vision insurance for staff is critical for recruitment and retention of skilled advocates.
CHILDREN SERVICES & SUPPORT:
The Reality: In FY23, crisis intervention services for children increased 88.5% with 869 more children receiving this service compared to FY22 and victim advocacy services for children increased 36% with 302 more children receiving this service in FY23 compared to FY22. In addition, survivors who are parenting need help with childcare so they can find and maintain employment or education, or attend court. Program staff often struggle to find affordable, quality childcare as well.
The Solution: Children exposed to IPV need services, and we have seen a significant jump in that need over the past year. Ideally, ZeroV member programs would have on-site childcare centers, with staff having early childhood education or development training, serving both survivors and staff.
SERVICES TO SUPPORT SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERIENCING MENTAL HEALTH & SUBSTANCE USE ISSUES:
The Reality: People who struggle with mental health (MH) conditions and substance abuse disorder (SUD) are at a higher risk of victimization by an abusive partner which often leads to homelessness. Due to a lack of accessible resources to treat MH conditions and SUD, a domestic violence shelter is often the only place these extremely vulnerable people have to turn to for help.
The Solution: Our programs need specialized professionals to meet the growing demand of shelter residents who have Mental Health Conditions and Substance Use Disorders.
INCREASE ACCESS TO SHELTER & SUPPORTIVE SERVICES:
The Reality: ZeroV Member Programs sheltered 4,242 survivors and children, for a total of 154,601 bed nights in FY22. The number of nights survivors spent in shelter has increased 13% from last year. Additionally, in 2022, ZeroV programs had 1,285 unmet requests for shelter. Our programs are operating at full capacity and are unable to meet all the requests for shelter.
The Solution: Survivors consistently report a lack of transportation as one of the most significant barriers to safety. ZeroV programs need more resources to provide survivors with transportation to and from jobs, schools, medical appointments and court. Funding is also needed to expand and renovate facilities to provide safe, accessible shelters to as many families as possible.
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