Towards Thriving – 4/8/2021

Towards Thriving Cover

April 8, 2021

 

April is designated nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, meaning it is a time to educate and engage the public in preventing, intervening, and responding to sexual assault. After a very long and rough legislative session, there were a couple of exciting things that happened yesterday, April 8, 2021, to coincide with the month’s activities.

Idaho State Capitol building on a clear day

First, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Bill 1089 (it was passed unanimously by the Senate on March 2). This bill repeals exceptions to Idaho’s criminal definition of rape for married individuals; it defines rape as rape – regardless of the relationship of the parties. The bill is on its way to the Governor’s office for signature. Senator Melissa Wintrow wrote and introduced the bill, and Representative Colin Nash carried the bill on the House floor. We are tremendously grateful for their continued support and legislative leadership on issues impacting survivors.

Second, House Bill 249, defined human sexuality as any presentation, story time, discussion, or reading assignment, other than sex education (the study of the anatomy and physiology of human reproduction), that is focused primarily or substantially on human sexuality, encompassing the topics of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, eroticism, sexual pleasure, or sexual intimacy. The bill required parents to affirmatively opt in to any public school instruction regarding human sexuality. It is our opinion that this bill would exclude children, particularly those most at risk for sexual abuse, from educational activities, necessary to identify child sexual abuse, such as good touch/bad touch, consent, and relationship decision making programming. It would also reduce supportive services available for queer and trans children. After passing on party lines in the House, it was held after hearing in the Senate Education Committee. We are excited that that Committee recognized the impact this bill would have on Idaho children.

If you have any questions about Idaho or federal policy impacting survivors of violence, please contact Annie Hightower at

annie@engagingvoices.org.

Annie Pelletier Hightower

Annie Hightower

annie@engagingvoices.org 

Three Things to reach out to me for:

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

Civil Legal Assistance For Youth

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month which is a great time to remind you that the Idaho Coalition provides civil legal assistance for survivors of sexual violence aged 11-24. Civil legal assistance needed by survivors can take many forms, and may include help:

white text on a green background, "support survivors during Sexual Assault Awareness Month" with a brown hand holding a cellphone

  • Navigating educational or administrative processes. This type of assistance is often necessary if the assault took place on school or employer property, or the assailant was someone the survivor goes to school or works with. We can also help if the assault took placed under another context, and the survivor needs to seek accommodations at school or work to allow them to continue to learn or earn income.
  • With housing concerns. From negotiating with a landlord to allow early termination of a lease agreement, to putting extra security measures in place, we can help provide a survivor options and work with them to get safe and secure housing.
  • Moving through the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system is confusing, and survivors often don’t understand why law enforcement and prosecutors make the decisions they do. We can engage in discussions with system actors to get more information and make sure the survivor’s voice is heard.
  • With related immigration concerns. If a survivor you are working with has immigration concerns related to reporting the assault or seeking services, we can help connect the survivor with a qualified immigration attorney (at no cost to the survivor) to discuss options.

We can also assist with protecting records and survivor privacy, seeking crime victim assistance and other funds available to recoup financial losses, as well as make referrals to attorneys that may be able to help in other areas (such as monetary recovery through civil law suits). Consultations can be done by phone or if necessary for representation we can come to your site to meet with the client. To make a referral to the Idaho Coalition civil legal assistance program, please contact Annie at annie@engagingvoices.org.

Annie Pelletier Hightower

Annie Hightower

annie@engagingvoices.org 

Three Things to reach out to me for:

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

Eviction Moratorium

Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moratorium on evictions is still in place and has been extended to June 30, 2021?

manila folder with paper that says eviction moratorium in red, all caps, at the top and a disposable mask laying on top

The tenant must complete the CDC Eviction Protection Declaration Form ( English Spanish ). This form is a declaration from the tenant stating they meet the following requirements.

  • Received a stimulus check (Economic Impact Payment) in 2020 or 2021, or
  • Was not required to report any income to the IRS in 2020, or
  • In 2020 or 2021, earned (or expected to earn) less than $99,000 as an individual or less than $198,000 as a joint filer
    • Survivors are likely to have earned under this amount if they received any of the following benefits:
      • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
      • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
      • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
      • Supplemental Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
    • Cannot pay full rent or make full housing payment because:
      • Household income has gone down substantially
      • Have been laid off from work
      • Work hours or wages have been cut
      • Has extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses
    • Tenant has been making best effort to make partial rent payments as close to full amount as possible
    • Being evicted would cause tenant to become homeless

The completed form should be given to the landlord or property manager as soon as possible. Keep in mind that tenants should still try to make partial rent payments after they turn in the declaration form and all back rent will be due when the moratorium expires.

Unfortunately, it is not a guarantee that the tenant will be able to stay in their home in every state. Evictions continue in Idaho and some survivors are being evicted for other reasons, like criminal activity, that are not covered by the CDC’s moratorium order.

For more information visit National Housing Law Project , National Low Income Housing Coalition, or  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The passage of the American Rescue Plan Act will bring more assistance for renters and unhoused communities. We will be sharing more detailed information as it becomes available.


Kailey Carter-Zitterkopf
Kailey Carter-Zitterkopf Staff Photo

kailey@engagingvoices.org 

Three Things to reach out to me for:

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

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

lacey@engagingvoices.org

Three Things to reach out to me for:

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

Training & Events

Our Collective Humanity Story Circle 

Spring Series – Thursdays, April 8 and May 6 

9 AM HST/12 PM PST/ 1 PM MST/ 2 PM CT/3 PM ET

Let this be the time our collective humanity blooms text on a white background with gears on the right

It has been almost a year since we launched our first virtual story circle in April 2020. With the one-year mark of the beginning of the pandemic, it feels like this moment is one to look back and reflect. It is in this spirit of reflection that we invite you to gather in virtual beloved community from places near and far to tell our stories of the past year: our stories of grief, of community, of resilience, of hope.

Join us for our online, interactive version of Our Collective Humanity Story Circle, Thursday, April 8th and again on Thursday, May 6th at 9 AM HST/12 PM PST/1 PM MT/2 PM CT/3 PM ET for 90 minutes on Zoom.

Our Collective Humanity Story Circle is about sharing from the heart —not writing or performing. We encourage spontaneous storytelling, and for you to notice and feel the story in you that wants to be told.

What is a Story Circle?

Here is the prompt for the stories that we will share with one another during our first story circle on April 8th: Bring an object with you, that tells the story of your past year. What was something that gave you hope, or made you feel resilient or felt like an anchor for you? Think of what kept you grounded during these times: a notebook, walking shoes, a pet’s collar, a certain food, a note from a friend, flowers, vegetables from the garden, a mask, a talisman, a recipe from home, a mug, a piece of clothing, music, whatever it was that helps you tell your story of the last year.

We believe stories can be a portal to imagining better, together. By telling our stories and listening to the stories of others, we can learn about ourselves and what connects us to each other. Please forward this email to anyone who is interested creating the conditions for our collective humanity to bloom.

The Collective Humanity Story Circle is a project of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence. This is a free, online event.

Register here


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.

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