January 12, 2017
The National Women’s March on Washington is mobilizing women across our state and country. While many are traveling to Washington, D.C., thousands of girls, women, and allies are preparing to gather for the sister Women’s March on Idaho on Saturday, January 21st at 10:00 AM in Boise, Idaho. We hope that you will join us in Boise or at one of the Women’s Marches in Driggs, Moscow, Pocatello, or Sandpoint.
The National Women’s March on Washington along with the more than 270 sister marches across the country and the globe are in response to the hate and violence targeted against survivors of sexual assault, immigrants, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, and people with disabilities.
If you are coming in for the National Women’s March on Idaho and would like to be a part of the Idaho Coalition banner, let us know. If your program needs posters and buttons for the Women’s March, email Yara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage all of you to join with your staff, family, and allies in the Women’s March closest to your community. Idaho is no exception to the increase in hate and violence. Across Idaho communities there have been increased incidents of harassment and violence against girls and women, most recently the brutal stabbing of a woman in southwestern Idaho. There have been reports of hate and ugliness against people of color, Muslims, and people with disabilities – from students building “Walls” with snow at schools or the defamation of the Black History Museum. And at the Idaho Coalition, one of our youth activist and her family was subjected to a hate crime recently when their car was vandalized, windows broken, white painted on the car with “Go Back.”
The Women’s March on Idaho is sends a bold message that women’s rights are human rights, that we need to come together “recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” The Women’s March in Idaho is step towards our emergent and unifying campaign We Choose All of Us – a declaration that we are people who choose a world where everyone is loved, where everyone is safe, where everyone can thrive. A world free of hate and oppression. Nothing less than this.
We Choose All of Us,
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
So The Advocates began looking for community support to pilot their own Housing First initiative. The funding would have to be completely flexible, in order to be survivor driven and promote empowerment, self-sufficiency, safety and stability. It would have to offer privacy for survivors, so they would not be required to disclose their source of financial assistance if they didn’t want to.
What funder would give them the discretion to use funds in whatever way would best help survivors, and without identifying the survivor to these potential sources? The Advocates found enthusiastic support from the Wood River Women’s Foundation, who awarded The Advocates $25,000 to launch Housing First.
Funds can be used for rent, utilities, and other obvious housing expenses, but they also can be used to promote housing stability by paying for child care, professional or educational opportunities, paying off debt, medical expenses, car repairs, and more. Case managers work with survivors closely and approve funding requests as appropriate.
Thanks to the Wood River Women’s Foundation’s grant, in the first 6 months, 19 women and 38 children received assistance. Forty-two percent moved into new, safe housing, and 58% stabilized their current housing. Funds were mostly used for rent and child care, but were not limited to those categories. The power of these flexible funds can not be underestimated. Jackie Hennessy with The Advocates talked about a woman they were able to support with Housing First funds, and they believe it literally saved her life. “The lethality risk was extremely high and we were able to provide all the resources she needed to get out safely.” “Housing First is greatly increasing overall well-being for survivors of abuse in our community.”
The Advocates offers multiple related support services in addition to Housing First, such as economic empowerment classes and matching savings programs. Their goal is to increase housing stability and a sense of overall well-being of individuals impacted by domestic violence, which will decrease survivors’ need for supportive services.
Housing First is a beautiful example of our movement’s shift from survival habits to thriving practices. Instead of our focus on scarcity and what can’t be done, The Advocates with their Housing First initiative, emphasize choice and abundance, generosity, and independence.
It can be a major shift to provide whatever financial assistance is needed for a survivor to establish and maintain stable housing, when we’ve been locked into protecting resources in order to serve more, or save for a dire situation. It takes a little leap of faith in the program, our community’s support, and in the survivors we work with. But as Jackie said, it not only promotes well-being, it literally saves lives. Interested in hearing more? Reach out to Jackie@theadvocatesorg.org or 208-788-4191.
The Idaho Coalition is excited to announce that we received the Idaho Thriving Families: Specialized Services for Abused Parents and their Children from Underserved Populations Grant. WooHoo! What makes being a recipient of this award even more fulfilling is that we are one of ten applicants to receive this grant. This initiative will focus on improving systems and responses to abused parents and their children, focusing primarily on underserved communities, through the integration of a comprehensive anti-oppression and social equity framework in conjunction with the institutionalization of Building Promising Futures: Guidelines for Enhancing Response of Domestic Violence Programs to Children and Youth, a strength-based approach in providing services to abused parents and their children. Melissa Ruth and Mercedes Munoz will be spearheading this initiative and will be contacting each of the domestic violence programs who signed the MOU to discuss the launch of this project.
The Idaho Coalition is excited to announce that we received an OVW Rural Grant to create the Idaho Rural Community Collaborative for Underserved Youth Initiative. Community and tribal domestic violence programs in rural Idaho signed a memorandum of understanding in the Spring of 2016 to build the capacity of rural communities to intervene and respond to youth (ages 13 to 19 year olds) victims of sexual assault or dating violence. This initiative targets meaningful access for underserved youth (Latina/o, Native American, and racially or ethnically diverse youth, youth with disabilities, youth who identify as LGBTQ, and youth in the juvenile justice system) who are experiencing dating violence or sexual assault. Jennifer Martinez is the contact person for this initiative and will be contacting each of the domestic violence programs who signed the MOU to discuss the launch of this project. We are excited to build the capacity of rural communities to identify and respond to youth impacted by dating violence and sexual assault.
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