The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted individuals and families in many ways, including financially. With many of our survivors losing their jobs and facing the additional stress of unemployment, the Women In Distress Economic Justice and Empowerment Program team reached out to provide help.
The team quickly gathered information on additional resources available through community agencies and service providers to share with survivors in the emergency shelter as well as anyone who received program services in the past. This included important resources, job opportunities, unemployment filing information and additional tools to help stabilize families. More than 25 applications for unemployment assistance were filed, with survivors gaining employment and receiving benefits.
The Economic Empowerment team also reached out via telephone to offer assistance with resume building, job search, stability plans, housing help, FFCRA Act and rights, and more. The program continues to empower domestic violence survivors with the tools and resources they need to move their families from crisis to stability.
In May, Women In Distress received a donation of gift bags filled with hygiene products to promote self-care for our survivors. In order to ensure everyone’s health and safety with social distancing, a contact-less self-care drive-through event was organized for survivors to pick up a gift bag. The bags also included a resource flyer addressing the critical challenges they may be facing, including unemployment, health care, and resources for children.
Following the event, a survivor wrote: “Thank you my beautiful angels. I’ve picked up the self-care bag which will be very useful. I had no hygiene products. They gave me gift cards and I cannot wait until stores finally open and I am able to buy myself some shoes. I only have the sneakers on my feet and they are breaking from all the walking that I do. My eyes were full of tears but I promised I would not cry. I am grateful for what the United States has done for me and it is in my heart that one day I will also be able to help other women that are going through the same struggles as I. One day I want to give back. A HUGE social distance hug! Thank you for everything!”
The Economic Justice and Empowerment Program was supported by Award No. VOCA-2019-Florida Coalition Against-00085 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs. Sponsored by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the State of Florida.