Nearly $900,000 awarded to support survivors of domestic violence during COVID-19

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DENVER (July 14, 2020) - The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has awarded $885,776 to 38 community-based domestic violence programs, which have continued to provide essential services to domestic violence survivors during the coronavirus pandemic. This funding - $568,399 from the federal CARES Act and $317,377 appropriated in the state budget by the Colorado general assembly - will provide for needs specific to the pandemic and supplement the ongoing support CDHS provides annually through its Domestic Violence Program. "Throughout the coronavirus response, domestic violence programs have continued to provide services such as crisis intervention, advocacy, financial assistance and emergency shelter," said CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes. "These programs are taking extra precautions so staff and survivors can remain safe and healthy. This additional funding will purchase much-needed items to continue serving domestic violence survivors while following critical safety guidelines."

Each year, the CDHS Domestic Violence Program awards funding to support organizations across the state. Only current grantee organizations were eligible to apply for supplemental funding. A funding committee awarded grants after reviewing applications and considering each organization's increased costs associated with responding to the needs of survivors of domestic violence and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

This supplemental funding will support organizations in their efforts to respond to the pandemic while addressing the evolving needs of domestic violence survivors. Funding will be used to:

  • Purchase cleaning and safety supplies that allow for safer in-person services, such as counseling,
  • Improve technology resources to pivot services online and ensure confidentiality, and
  • Meet direct client needs, such as food, rent and utility assistance, as well as emergency housing services.

"Even as social distancing restrictions change, COVID-19 continues to disrupt the daily lives of Colorado residents and create economic stressors," said Brooke Ely-Milen, director of the Domestic Violence Program. "These stressors can make it even more challenging for survivors of domestic violence to take necessary steps to enhance their safety. That is why is it so critical to continue supporting the organizations working directly with survivors."

Domestic violence organizations are essential services, and they have continued to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. The National Domestic Violence Hotline - 800-799-7233 - can connect people to their local, free and confidential domestic violence service provider. Support is available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Survivors of domestic violence who cannot make a phone call, can text "loveis" (capitalization does not matter) to 22522 or visit to chat with an advocate. During an emergency situation, survivors should call 911.

Anyone concerned about the safety of a friend, family member or neighbor, should offer support privately and let them know that community-based domestic violence organizations continue to operate. Share the contact information for the domestic violence hotline, text or chat with someone you are concerned about, and reach out for support for yourself. Friends and family often find it beneficial to talk with an advocate.

A list of local organizations is available here.

The Colorado Department of Human Services Domestic Violence Program partners with communities in the prevention of domestic violence while promoting the safety and well-being of survivors through good stewardship of funding resources. The Domestic Violence Program administers approximately $3 million in state and federal funding to ensure communities across Colorado have the support they need to intervene, prevent and respond to domestic violence.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble, Deputy Director of Communications