June 5, 2020
DES MOINES, Iowa —
(R) Sen. Joni Ernst and (D) Rep. Cindy Axne wrote a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday asking for funds through the federal coronavirus relief bill to be provided for domestic violence programs in Iowa immediately.
The letter acknowledges the situation that domestic violence victims may be in due to self-quarantining that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. It also addresses that children are unable to go to child care programs and requests additional resources for these groups.
“We have heard from service providers across Iowa that the pandemic is intensifying the needs of survivors of domestic violence,” the letter stated. “We request that as Iowa receives funding, grants, and other federal assistance that will support our domestic violence programs, you will ensure this money is provided quickly in order to ensure Iowans get the assistance they desperately need.”
The letter asks Reynolds to provide more funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to make sure safe housing is available to vulnerable populations.
The funding would help provide sanitary housing, find new ways to assist victims who may be self isolated, pay for supplies, and maintain a 24-hour help line for victims.
“Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children. It is critical that survivors of violence do not lose their safe housing during this time,” the letter stated. “Ensuring CARES Act and other federal funding is administered quickly and that the needs of survivors are specifically addressed in the allocation of funding is critically important.”
The CARES Act provided $45 million to support grants through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. The letter asks that this money be dispersed as “quickly as possible” due to the urgency of the situation for domestic violence victims. However, no deadline was specifically provided.
Ernst has spoken openly about her experience of domestic violence first hand.