Domestic violence programs across the state recently were notified about the new TANF funding pool from Virginia Department of Social Services.
The changes to the Department of Housing and Community Development priorities for shelter funding and the changes to the distribution of the TANF block grant represent real threats to core funding for services to victims of domestic violence and their children.
It is vital that the Governor and your elected members of the General Assembly hear from you now, and over the next six months as the Governor prepares the 2012-2013 budget and the General Assembly considers amendments to that budget.
Here are a few opportunities:
- The Governor’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board meets in Richmond on July 26th from 1-3:30pm at the Patrick Henry Building, 1111 E Broad St. The meeting will include a public comments session. Plan to attend and speak to the impact of the loss of $1.2m/year in TANF funding for domestic violence services (an average of $25k for each program in VA). Urge the Governor’s Advisory Board to recommend that there be no reductions in funding for domestic violence services.
- Write to the Governor now at http://www.governor.virginia.gov or
The Honorable Robert McDonnell
Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 E Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
- Call your Virginia Delegate and Senator, you can find out how to contact them here.
Some important points to consider:
- Domestic Violence Programs have sustained incremental decreases in funding over the past several years, but have continued to provide services to an increasing number of victims/survivors.
- Changes in philosophy at DHCD and at VDSS are squeezing domestic violence programs out of funding that has historically been critical to safety for victims of domestic violence and their children.
- Prior administrations replaced TANF funding for domestic violence services with General Funds, but under the current administration those funds were reverted back to TANF — and are now at risk. The new TANF funding pool does not allow for crisis and safety services — even if Domestic Violence Programs choose to submit an application, it would be for new education or employment initiatives, not for core services that are so vital to victims.
- Safety and the opportunity to build a new foundation are critical to building a strong family that is free of abuse. For this reason, domestic violence services were considered an allowable TANF activity at the federal level – and Virginia took advantage of that opportunity to increase the services we were able to provide statewide by nearly 25%. If TANF funding is eliminated and not replaced with general funds or other block grant funds that increase in services can not be sustained.