Efforts in Contra Costa County to assist victims of violence and human trafficking got a big boost in the form of $700,000 in federal funds awarded to two organizations working on this important issue, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Contra Costa County) announced today.
The grants, $400,000 for Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department, and $300,000 for STAND! For Families Free of Violence, were awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime and the Office on Violence Against Women, respectively.
"Ensuring victims of violence and human trafficking receive adequate care is a serious issue for women and disadvantaged individuals and I am very pleased to see organizations in the East Bay successfully competing for federal assistance to help provide aid for victims," said Miller. "Reducing violence and making sure victims of crime are well provided for is a top priority in our community. The investments we make in these programs today will pay dividends for years to come in a safer, less violent community for all residents."
"Fighting human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery, is a shared community responsibility. We are fortunate to have such strong partnerships among community agencies, the faith community, and law enforcement working together to identify and support victims," said Deborah Levine, Director of Contra Costa County Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence Initiative. "This funding will have a tangible impact on enhancing services and improving our response to human trafficking. We are extremely grateful to the County's delegation for their efforts to support this successful grant application."
Contra Costa County's Employment and Human Services department will use the funds to provide timely, high-quality comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking, as well as to enhance interagency coordination in the provision of services for victims. In June this year, Miller wrote to the Department of Justice in support of the County's grant application, citing "more than a decade of highly successful collaboration and significant results in addressing the complex issues surrounding domestic violence."
"This funding comes at a time when domestic violence continues at epidemic proportions even as funding for supportive services has declined sharply," explained Gloria J. Sandoval, CEO of STAND! For Families Free of Violence. "The grant will not only provide safe, healthy housing for women and their children who are rebuilding self-sufficiency. This funding helps our clients identify and pursue new educational, vocational, and permanent housing opportunities and receive specialized case management and support that enables them to build vibrant, violence-free lives in our community. We are delighted."
The Transitional Housing Grant awarded to STAND! For Families Free of Violence will provide aid to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking who are homeless or in need of transitional housing, including short-term housing assistance and supportive services, and for whom emergency shelter services or other crisis intervention services are unavailable or insufficient.