By Kim Holland, Director of Project DVORA
What is flexible financial assistance? In the world of gender-based violence advocacy, it’s a term that refers to funding that can be used to help survivors with whatever financial need supports their housing stability. Some examples of flexible financial assistance include rental assistance, car repair costs, utility bill assistance, food assistance, transportation assistance, or childcare assistance. Although rental assistance is the main need that comes up for survivors in King County, sometimes a survivor has other expenses that may present barriers to their housing stability.
For example, imagine a survivor named Emily who relies on her car to get to and from work each day. Emily has just left an abusive relationship, so she went from a dual-earning household to a single-earning household. She also has two children. Suppose her tires give out, and she can barely afford rent each month. If we can pay for new tires, Emily is still able to get to work—and she and her children are able to stay stable and housed.
When survivors leave abusive relationships, they often start at ground zero. They might have to leave their homes. They might have to quit their jobs. It’s a scary thing to worry about your safety. And it is scary to consider being homeless, especially if you have children.
With flexible financial assistance, Project DVORA can assist survivors with exactly what they need. Instead of saying, “we only have funding for housing”, we can say, “what do you need help with”? and explore the options together. And if the survivor needs help with medical bills so she can get her insulin, then we can do that. If she needs help with groceries until she can connect with government assistance, we can do that too.
Flexible financial assistance is important, and we are grateful to our generous community of donors who make it possible for us to ensure our clients can live stable, healthy, safe and fulfilling lives.
Project DVORA at JFS works with survivors of gender-based violence, including intimate partner violence and sexual assault. We help survivors who are currently involved in an abusive relationship, actively exiting an abusive relationship, or still experiencing abuse from a previous relationship (for example, co-parenting with an ex-partner). Our program also strives to guide and empower the community in responding to gender-based violence. We offer prevention programs and trainings to local schools, rabbis, and other community leaders.
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