Towards Thriving – 3/25/2021

Towards Thriving Cover

March 25, 2021

The House passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), which includes substantial, flexible resources to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault (a total of $450 million).

 NNEDV and our national allies worked incredibly closely with the Congressional offices who championed these resources through the House and Senate processes, and we are thrilled that the resources made it into the final package. These resources are a true testament to your advocacy, and we are so hopeful that they can quickly meet needs, alleviate suffering, help survivors, and stabilize programs. We are so grateful for all your continued work in this very stressful time.  

 The ARP was completed as part of the budget reconciliation process and because of that, the language accompanying the funds has to be streamlined, brief and related to budget. As such, the specific details about how funds will be administered/allocated are still to be determined.

 DV/SA specific funds

$180 million in supplemental Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funds

  • The $180 million of FVPSA supplemental funds should be incredibly flexible. There are some things that will become clearer when the FVPSA office begins to distribute the funds.

The FVPSA supplement Funds:  

  • should be available to subgrantees until 2025;  
  • will have no match requirement;
  • will likely follow the established formula, including funds for coalitions; and
  • will be flexible and will likely allow programs to meet a diverse range of needs

We are hopeful that these flexible funds will help you address current funding needs! Our coalition capacity team plans on providing resources and support to help coalitions and local programs best utilize the new funds.

 $18 million for tribes

  • In addition to the 10% allocated to tribes in the $180 million supplemental funds, tribes will receive $18 million in supplemental FVPSA funds. As you know, needs are especially acute for tribes right now and these additional funds are critical in addressing serious gaps in available services.

$49.5 million for a new Culturally Specific Program to address the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors

$198 million for grants to assist rape crisis centers

  • Up until now, no COVID-19 relief package provided funding to address the needs of sexual assault survivors. We join our partners in celebrating these funds, which will be administered through the FVPSA office.

$2 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, $1 million of which is to be allocated to the Stronghearts Native Helpline

Housing resources

Read about the Housing Resources in the American Rescue Plan from colleagues at the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. Highlights include:

  • $5 billion in housing vouchers (those who are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault or human trafficking are eligible)
  • $5 billion in homelessness assistance
    • people who are fleeing or attempting to flee DV, dating violence, stalking, SA or human trafficking are listed as those who should primarily benefit from the funds
    • distributed through the HOME Investment Partnerships program formula
  • $27.4 billion in emergency rental assistance, administered by Treasury 

Pandemic Emergency Assistance – $1 billion To provide emergency cash assistance to eligible families  

Improved access to SNAP, increased maximum benefit

Direct impact payment $1,400 per individual  

Unemployment Insurance extension: The bill extends enhanced unemployment insurance until September 6, 2021. This includes an extension of the federal unemployment insurance bump that is added to all unemployment benefits (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC), at the current law amount of $300. It also includes extensions of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which expands eligibility for the self-employed, gig workers, freelancers and others in non-traditional employment who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance, as well as the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which makes additional weeks of benefits available to workers who exhaust their state benefits. All other CARES Act and Families First Act unemployment programs are similarly extended until September 6.

Unemployment Insurance Taxation: The bill creates a $10,200 tax exclusion for unemployment compensation income for tax year 2020 for households with incomes under  $150,000.

Significant expansion of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC): It will nearly triple the maximum EITC for childless workers, increase the amount of the CTC, from $2,000 to $3,000 (with a more generous $3,600 credit for children under the age of 6). The CTC will also be fully refundable, ensuring this vital resource is available to the lowest-income households. Expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to help working families afford the cost of child care during this crisis.

State and Local Fiscal Aid: $350 billion to States, territories, Tribes, and local governments to be used for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, to offset revenue losses, bolster economic recovery and to provide premium pay for essential workers.

Kailey Carter-Zitterkopf
Kailey Carter-Zitterkopf Staff Photo 

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Training Ideas & Suggestions
  • General Program Questions
  • Finance Questions

COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments and Survivors of Domestic Violence

In many abusive relationships the abuser controls the household’s moneycovid 19 economic impact payment and finances. Although the survivor may have agreed to the filing of the tax return that the COVID relief payment was based upon, the abuser may have later refused to pay over the survivor’s share of the payment, or the survivor cannot get the payment from the abuser without risking harm or abuse. In other situations, survivors may not have seen or signed the tax return that the COVID relief payment was based upon, or they were forced to sign the return under threats or duress. To find out about options to receive 2020 COVID relief payments on your 2020 tax return, click here and here.

Annie PelletierAnnie Hightower smiling with a blue scarf on in

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Legal Questions
  • Legislative Updates
  • Sexual Assault/Title IX



April signals the shift of seasons, towards blooms and rebirth.  It also signals Sexual Assault Awareness month.  We are choosing to share a piece from our 2018 newsletter on Coercion.  At the time of it’s drafting, #Metoo and #TimesUp were virally making their way through social media. In 2021, men are having more conversations about consent, how we can ensure it is present in our relationships. Unfortunately, the time it takes for men to “get it” is too slow and people are still having their choice taken from them. In honor of SAAM 2021, we look for men to hold one another accountable in their relationships and beliefs about women and sex.Time's Up in all caps with white letters on a black background and two lines on the left

In these times of movement, survivors are seeing their voices believed and lifted to a national platform.  With the #MeToo hashtag connecting countless survivors of sexual assault, their stories are being listened to and validated with others’ accounts. In the interest of moving forward with validating the experiences of everyone, modeling respectful behavior and believing someone when they share their story is crucial.  We have more work to do and are building on our past strategies to reduce violence. 

Consent trainings have been a valid resource for during my fourteen-year career as a violence prevention educator.  The trainings are requested by universities, athletic teams, high schools and organizations to provide education for their members while also providing legal protection in case someone sues for negligence.  These trainings have consisted of national “best practice” standards that include a generic definition of consent that include a freely given, sober and enthusiastic verbal YES.  While this guideline helps to set the stage, I fear it is providing a false sense of security for these institutional leaders and workshop participants, mostly men.  Rather than be concerned with what is legal and illegal, we can have conversations with young people to determine for themselves what are respectful and disrespectful behaviors. These individual acts can be contemplated by the participants in our workshops to determine what their own values around sex and relationships are.  And, as an adult man, it is my responsibility to model these behaviors in ALL of my relationships.  Young people may be listening to what I say and they are certainly watching what I do.  My interaction with all female identified people provides a road map for the young male basketball players I coach and those in the workshops I facilitate.  Role modeling humanness is just as important as reciting a definition of consent. 

As I reflect on these trainings, I fear that my facilitation led men to actively seek a “Yes” without clueing into one powerful means of communication, non-verbal body language.  By placing value on the spoken word, I omitted from the conversation the power of folded arms, darting eyes, stiff body or requests to “slow things down.”  This can lead men to seek a “yes” only as permission for a transaction (i.e. sex) rather than asking what their partner wants too.  Seeking consent alone does not encourage the individual to ask questions about what their partners enjoy about sex or what intimacy looks like for themselves.  Instead, only seeking a verbal “yes” becomes the quest for a transaction to build a shoddy level of trust; just enough to not get a no and believe it was the same as a yes.  It also damages someone who didn’t say “no” and didn’t feel comfortable about what was happening in the moment. 

What is missing from these trainings is the opportunity for men to share their fears of rejection and for not matching up to the impossible statement of “be a man.”  In my experience, many men have questions about intimacy, sex, and sexuality that are rarely asked, leaving them with only their “man box” training to rely upon for guidance.  And we are seeing the upsurge in people reporting their experiences with men who didn’t pay attention to body language or other signs of discomfort.  Recent stories about two men have caused me to pause my judgement of men’s violence and reflect upon my own beliefs and actions.  Aziz Ansari and James Franco have been named by women, describing their stories of an abuse of power and their failure to recognize signs of discomfort and harm.  While the stories are powerful and describe harmful behaviors, they do not necessary qualify as “illegal” or as disgusting as the actions of Harvey Weinstein or Larry Nassar yet they are all receiving a trial by Twitter and lumped into the same category of abuse.  While Ansari and Franco allegedly acted in very disrespectful and demeaning ways, they do not equate to the actions of Weinstein, Nassar, Matt Lauer, Al Franken and many other powerful men.  By looking at these reports of violence on a spectrum, we can identify that all of these actions are harmful, with some more overtly violent and hateful while others are more covert and unfortunately common behaviors that many of us men have perpetrated.  Without examining these lesser acts of harm (i.e. placing a woman’s hand on a penis, placing a man’s fingers in a woman’s mouth, demanding women go nude for a movie scene, dismissing all women as crazy, etc.), we will continue to have serial acts of men’s violence leading us to questions of how/why they occur. 

As an adult, father and husband, I reflect on the many ways I have caused harm to others.  As a member of the Idaho Coalition and an educator, my journey towards connecting my head to my heart has led me to visit memories that are painful, ugly and shameful.  These looks into the mirror have me twisted in how I treated women as a young adult.  Now, as someone who spends time with young men, part of my journey is to share some of these stories not as fuel for the fire, but signs for pause.  Seeking consent means more than four guidelines; rather it is seeing value in the other person.

Inaction is still a choice.  If we choose to not do anything, we are supporting the violence with our silence.  We all deserve different, more, better.  #Timesup and what are we all going to do?

Jeff MatsushitaJeff Mashusita_Staff Photo_2017

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • Engaging Men Workshops
  • Athletic Culture and Violence Prevention Strategies
  • Criminal Justice Engagement and Reform

2021 SASP Emergency Assistance Funds

As shared in the Fall, the Idaho Coalition will not award or administer ISP SASP funds for the 2021 calendar year; however, we wanted to remind programs that we will continue to administer the ISP SASP Emergency Assistance Funds in partnership with ISP. This limited funding stream is allocated specifically to help provide emergency support to individuals impacted by sexual assault.SASP Emergency Assistance Funds

SASP emergency funds may be accessed by Idaho Coalition member programs, those who receive/have been awarded 2021 SASP funds, as-well-as program members who do not currently receive SASP funds.

We also recognize that many victims/survivors of sexual assault may not access community-based crisis centers, but may be interacting and seeking support from community organizations and agencies who work with individuals with disabilities, culturally specific agencies, or with LGBTQ organizations. These organizations may reach out to your program looking for support, sexual assault services, and other resources; please know that these agencies and organizations may also access these funds when looking to provide emergency support on behalf of individuals impacted by sexual assault.

Emergency assistance may include, but is not limited to: counseling, medical assistance, rental or employment assistance, civil legal assistance or other approved expenses related to the victimization.

SASP Emergency assistance requests may be made directly to, Lacey Sinn at the Idaho Coalition. Each request will be evaluated to determine that it fits within the SASP priority areas and eligibility requirements and to ensure there is adequate emergency funding to support the request. Upon approval, reimbursement will be made directly to the program or community organization/agency for the request.

Please click here to review current SASP emergency funds guidelines for submitting a request.

If you have any questions regarding SASP Emergency Assistance Funds, how to submit a request, etc. please contact Lacey.

Lacey SinnLacey Sinn_Staff Photo_2017

Three Things to reach out to me for:

  • SASP (including how to access SASP Emergency Funds)
  • Transitional Housing
  • Disability Grant Program/Idaho Change Initiative

Legislative Updates

The Idaho Legislature is on recess until April 6th.

S 1089: Spousal Rape; this bill will get rid of the spousal rape statute andIdaho State Capitol building on a clear day will simply define rape as rape. It is on the third reading calendar and will be voted on the House Floor at noon on April 6th.

HB 249: Sex Ed; would cut off access and critical information that would allow young Idahoans to make the best decision regarding maintaining healthy relationships. This bill will be heard in Senate Education Committee when the legislature returns.

HB 220: This legislation would withhold public funds (we believe VOCA and FVPSA funds are included in this) from any agency that may refer for abortion or provide counseling that includes abortion. This could potentially apply to options counseling—which would affect our programs and their ability to best serve survivors. The bill passed the house and will be heard in Senate State Affairs. The date and time is currently unknown.

Training & Events

Learning Communities SeriesLearning Communities in green on a background surrounded by flowers and a brown woman looking off into the distance

The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence would like to invite you to join the first session in our new Learning Communities series. We will kick off our series with a presentation by Gabby Davis on wellness and self-care for advocates then follow up with a presentation by Dr. Josie Serrata on the effects natural disasters, including COVID, have on survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Wellness & Self-Care for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocates: Wednesday, March 31 at 1pm MT/12pm PT

Impacts of Natural Disasters on Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault from Underserved Communities: Wednesday, April 7 at 11am MT/10am PT

Register here!

Join our webinars to connect to other advocates and learn about how to practice wellness during COVID.

For any questions, please contact Kailey Carter-Zitterkopf at

Child Support 101

April 26 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST/2:00 – 4:00 pm MST

Join us for a webinar on Child Support. Child support can be a great benefit for survivors, but being involved in this system also comes with some risk. Join us to learn about how survivors can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. The deadline to request language interpretation is April 12.

Register here.

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Engaging Voices Website Store*** ALL material orders are currently on hold, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. ***

Reminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.

Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn.

Coupon Code