Governor Hochul Announces $64 Million to Aid Struggling Families and Survivors of Domestic Violence
New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced more than $64 million in federal funding to help struggling New Yorkers with children, multi-generational households, and survivors of domestic violence with their expenses amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Administered through the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund will provide one-time payments to help with the cost of diapers for struggling families, cover food expenses for households with both children and older adults, and provide crucial housing and relocation assistance for survivors of domestic violence.
“The pandemic has laid bare the inequities that exist across our society, leaving vulnerable New Yorkers who were already struggling even further behind,” Governor Hochul said. “With the help of our federal partners, my administration is taking decisive action to alleviate the burden of this public health crisis on struggling families with young children, those supporting an older family member in their household, and survivors of domestic violence. This critical funding will help tens of thousands of families pay for food and diapers, while providing a lifeline to domestic violence survivors in need of relocation and housing support.”
Starting this month, OTDA will issue one-time payments to all families enrolled in Public Assistance or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that have a child under the age of three-years-old. Families will receive $140 per eligible child to assist with the cost of diapers, with the funding anticipated to serve roughly 150,000 children in 128,500 households statewide.
To cover food costs, the agency will also issue one-time payments in April of $730 to households that are enrolled in Public Assistance or SNAP, and have both an adult who is 55 or older and a child who is 17 and under. Households will get one-time payments for each eligible older adult in the household. Approximately 26,300 households are expected to receive this assistance.
In both instances, OTDA will issue these payments directly to the household’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) account. The two distributions will account for about $42.8 million in assistance for struggling New Yorkers from the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund.
OTDA Acting Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, “Unquestionably, New Yorkers are still reeling from the pandemic, including many who were struggling to get by even before the public health emergency began nearly two years ago. This funding will provide important short-term relief for families with young children or an older member of their household as we collectively continue to recover from the economic turmoil wrought by the pandemic.”
Additionally, the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund will provide $21.4 million for OPDV to administer to domestic violence service providers to help domestic violence survivors with children that are eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This funding will help survivors pay for the short-term expenses associated with relocation, including rent, utilities, and repairs.
OPDV Executive Director Kelli Owens said, “The needs and voices of survivors is at the forefront of our work to transform domestic and sexual violence service delivery systems to be more survivor-centered, trauma-informed and culturally responsive. Survivors know their needs best, and this funding will allow service providers to work directly with survivors, especially black, indigenous, and survivors of color, to meet those needs immediately and with flexibility. We thank Governor Hochul for her steadfast commitment to preventing domestic violence and for her leadership on ensuring that survivors have the supports they need.”
Stress, unemployment, and financial pressures do not cause people to abuse their partners, but these factors can cause an increase in frequency and severity of violence, and create more dangerous situations for victims, especially when compounded with the increased isolation that has come with social distancing. During the height of the COVID pandemic, calls to the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline were up an average of 45 percent.
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, “Today and every day, we stand united to embrace the victims, survivors, and families of domestic violence in New York and around the nation. Domestic violence is the pandemic within the COVID-19 pandemic with reported cases on the rise, and I commend Governor Hochul on today’s announcement allocating more than $64 million in federal funding to help New York families and survivors with domestic violence related expenses amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We must never turn our backs on families who find themselves in abusive relationships, and our work remains critical to stop the abuse that impacts our communities and ensure families have the support and resources they need and deserve as they work to recover and rebuild their lives.”
State Senator Roxanne Persaud said, “This $64 million in federal pandemic assistance will provide relief to food-insecure households, individuals and families enduring domestic violence, and households lacking adequate supplies of diapers for newborns and toddlers, all issues that I have been highlighting. Thank you to Governor Hochul for her continued compassion and dedication to the neediest families across New York State. The pandemic and its economic consequences have impacted New Yorkers from every community and walk of life.”