I was honored to be invited to document the round table discussion and general meeting of Senator John Cornyn and leaders of domestic violence last week.
On Friday February 24th, Senator John Cornyn visited SAFE in Austin and met with leaders of domestic violence programs; Melinda Cantu, Marta Pelaez, Rebecaa White, Paige Flink, Aaron Setlift, Kelly White, John Cornyn, Stephanie Story and Gloria Terry to discuss a rule change at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This rule change has endangered grants needed for long term housing and will cut vital federal funding for "transitional housing". This important step between shelters and permanent housing includes counseling, child care, career training and classes in parenting, financial management among other subjects.
“Some are in true danger. Some are suffering from trauma and need a period of time and safety to stabilize, and some just really do need to be hidden for a while,” SAFE CEO Kelly White said. “We need to be able to find safe housing for them. That is one of the biggest barriers that keeps them in abusive relationships.”
Cornyn said his bill, the Helping End Abusive Living Situations Act, or HEALS Act, will direct federal housing officials to make it a priority to fund transitional housing for domestic violence survivors.
Rebecca White with Houston Area Women's Center explains that HUD's solution to homelessness does not acknowledge that homeless domestic violence survivors have different needs.
Cornyn states, "We asked politely at first, now we're going to insist".
Photography : Sami Jo Photography
Site : My Statesman from Austin- American Statesmen