Enhanced services for domestic violence survivors has been identified as a critical community need. Monroe County has allocated $3.6 million to Willow Domestic Violence Center and Providence Housing Development Corporation, as part of Bring Monroe Back.
Pending legislative approval, Willow will receive more than $1.5 million for a multidisciplinary Family Justice Center. The center would provide wraparound services for domestic violence survivors in a safe, caring environment, while also providing access to key community agencies, social service providers, and legal assistance, officials say.
“The creation of a Family Justice Center brings together many incredible partners to meet the immediate healing and safety needs of survivors,” says Meaghan de Chateauvieux, president and CEO of Willow. “From legal and court, health care and counseling to financial services and housing—all of these services would be offered in one collaborative approach.”
Willow provides emergency shelter, support groups, education and other services for children of survivors to more than 7,000 individuals.
Providence Housing Development will receive more than $2 million toward the Door of Hope rapid rehousing program, which serves both hearing and Deaf individuals and families where the head of household is fleeing domestic violence or human trafficking.
“The American Rescue Plan Act funding, and our collaboration with Willow Domestic Violence Center and Monroe County, will allow the Providence Housing Door of Hope program to continue to strengthen individuals, families, and communities by providing access to affordable housing and supportive services for hearing and Deaf persons fleeing domestic violence or human trafficking,” says Mark Greisberger, executive director of Providence Housing Development.
Door of Hope is expected to offer up to one year of rental assistance and two years of support services with a full-time family life coach. Additional support also will be made available, including transportation subsides, apartment application fees, identification and birth certificates for household members and childcare.
“Everyone deserves the right to feel safe in their community and their home. The wraparound support services we are proposing ensure survivors of domestic violence have access to the resources they need,” says County Executive Adam Bello. “There is a growing need for comprehensive and supportive programs for survivors of domestic violence, and the partnership between Willow Domestic Violence Center and Providence Housing Development Corporation embraces language access and equity for our Deaf residents by providing safe havens.”
Bring Monroe Back is the county’s plan to distribute funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The county has received more than $144 million in federal dollars.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.
I know the two agencies do great work. In these times of lower discretionary funding sustaining organizations with proven records is a good thing.
But, tragically, I see the current uptick in domestic and gun violence as a wildfire that needs to burn itself out. I doubt any current intervention can stop its spread. No amount of added funding for traditional, proven performers designed to cope with the pre-pandemic challenges can address what we are currently experiencing.
Undoubtedly the almost complete disruption of everyday social, political, medical, and academic institutions deeply affected our social order, especially among younger citizens. Concurrently we had the Bail and Prison reforms advocated for by mostly downstate progressives that had severe and not well-understood unanticipated consequences.
I’m not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater on bail and prison reform. Still, the legislature must thoroughly evaluate and modify the implementation to keep the most violent offenders from returning to the community.
The irony is that communities of color are most adversely affected by the sharp increase in violence, the same communities from which many offenders come.
As liberal Democrats and Progressives hope that gun license reform will slow gun violence, that’s a naïve approach. The new laws will only frustrate lawful gun ownership, and second amendment supporters will challenge most new provisions, perhaps all the way to the Supreme Court, only to be overturned. To have an impact, we need federal gun law reform, including assault rifle bans and new increased age requirements for any semi-auto or automatic long gun. Violent criminals have easy access to illegal firearms, and if they can’t get guns, they will find other means to create death and societal havoc.
I also worry about the optics of all this new funding as a way for the state to squander the one-time source of funds that came with recent post covid federal largess. Rather than add substantial funds to these established programs, the money should go to public schools for additional counselors and mental health practitioners and help fund the nurse and psychiatrist training pipeline to ensure we can get the professionals we need as soon as possible. We should also use federal funds to ensure that medical facilities can retain as many nurses as possible. Elected officials doling out the money need more discipline, even in an election year, to ensure the money is helping to stop the spread of the wildfire of violence.