The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) applauded U.S. Senator Tom Harkin for securing $140 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). As Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Harkin oversaw the bill passed by the full Appropriations Committee on July 29, 2010.
"We thank Senator Harkin for his leadership on behalf of victims of domestic violence," said Laurie Schipper, ICADV's Executive Director. "Once again, he has been a true advocate for Iowa's domestic violence programs and has worked to prioritize this funding despite a tough budget this year."
This vote on the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) bill is a crucial step toward securing an increased investment in lifesaving services in 2011. The bill includes an 8-percent increase of $10 million for FVPSA formula funding to states, which is the only federal funding source dedicated to domestic violence shelters and programs.
"Thanks to this increased investment in FVPSA, our 28 local domestic violence shelters and programs in Iowa will be able to serve more survivors and save more lives," said Schipper.
Current levels of funding have not kept pace with the demand for services. Despite funding shortages, on one day alone in 2009, local programs in Iowa served more than 924 people, over half of whom sought emergency shelter or safe housing. However, in that same 24-hour period, 102 requests for services went unmet largely due to lack of funding.
"Increased FVPSA funding will help keep the lights on at shelters in Iowa and enable them to provide lifesaving services to victims and children escaping violence," said Schipper. "During these harsh economic times, local communities in Iowa are struggling to close the gap between the demand for services and available resources."
The FY '11 LHHS bill also makes great strides toward preventing violence and addressing the needs of children. For the second year in a row, the FVPSA appropriation includes funding for specialized services for children who witness domestic violence. In addition, the bill includes $5 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which answers over 21,000 calls a month from individuals in Iowa and across the country.
ICADV is celebrating the progress made in this step forward and will closely monitor the process as the bill moves to the floor of the U.S. Senate.
"We look forward to working with Senator Harkin to maintain this investment in domestic violence shelters and other critical services," said Schipper.