SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) introduced new legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 673, which supports domestic violence victims by increasing funding to nonprofits that provide shelter and services for victims. A report by the Little Hoover Commission found that nonprofits often face numerous delays in receiving funding and can be forced to take out loans just to keep the lights on.
“During the pandemic, we have seen a rise in domestic violence cases and our nonprofits struggling to keep their doors open,” said Assemblymember Salas. “AB 673 will enable those who provide domestic violence services to better assist victims in a more effective way, ensuring that our support systems are urgently responding to those in need.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for domestic violence victims to report their abusers and find safety. The state’s stay-at-home orders have forced many victims to be closely confined with their abusive partners. The Public Policy Institute of California found that requests for survivor services have increased throughout California. Additionally, shelters are filled to capacity in some parts of the state, and calls to the Los Angeles County domestic violence hotline increased by 70 percent since 2019.
California’s Domestic Violence Assistance Program (DVAP) makes approximately $53 million in funding available to 102 shelter-based nonprofits throughout the state. Currently, DVAP funding reimburses nonprofits for their services, but this method means long waits for some nonprofits who are forced to take out loans while they wait for their reimbursement to be approved. These nonprofits are forced to pay hundreds of dollars a month in interest, which is money that could otherwise be utilized for services for domestic violence victims.
AB 673 will require the state to provide DVAP nonprofits with 100 percent of their funding upfront, instead of slowing reimbursing nonprofit providers who have already been approved by the state for their funding. AB 673 will streamline the funding process to make it easier for nonprofits to receive the resources they need to operate. Additionally, the bill establishes auditing and reporting requirements to guarantee that this funding is not being misused.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.