With Congress considering how to appropriate funds from the Violence Against Women Act, which authorizes $3.95 billion over four years to programs that combat domestic violence and sexual assault, many advocates are pushing for providing free and secure living conditions for 18 to 24 months, reports Women’s eNews. “Every service provider we are in contact with lists transitional housing as their No. 1 need, and the programs in existence do not come close to meeting the need,” says Allison Randall of the the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C.
Randall says the main reason women return to abusive situations is out of financial dependence and that emergency shelters cannot provide long-term help. While $30 million was authorized for transitional housing in 2005, $12.5 million wound up being approved, down from $15 million in 2004. Asked how much funding would provide all the transitional housing needed by those fleeing domestic abuse, Randall says that figure is hard to quantify: “Service providers we deal with report that 70 percent of the women who go into emergency shelters need some sort of transitional assistance.”