Committee Approves Funding for Domestic Violence Assistance Programs

Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) announced today that the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously approved her Senate Bill 720. Her bill would authorize recipients of Domestic Violence Assistance Program (DVAP) funding to receive the entirety of the state’s portion of the grant funding at the beginning of the grant period.

“Programs that support survivors of domestic violence should not have to wait so long or incur borrowing costs in order to provide these essential services,” said Senator Ochoa Bogh. “I’m pleased the Senate Public Safety Committee agreed that we must do what we can to assist these organizations that provide secure accommodations beyond just a safe place. SB 720 will help support their efforts by eliminating unnecessary cash-flow challenges to ensure expenses are covered efficiently.”

A study initiated by the Little Hoover Commission analyzed California’s current government structure to determine whether the state is organized to efficiently support Californians affected by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and if the state has chosen the best way to fund IPV services.

As a result of the study, the Little Hoover Commission made a simple recommendation: support DVAP recipients by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles and allowing recipients to access grant funds upfront instead of using a reimbursement model.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that we efficiently and effectively provide service providers with the resources they need to help survivors of intimate partner violence escape their abuser,” said Sean Varner, Vice Chairman of California’s Little Hoover Commission. “We are proud to support SB 720 and we thank Senator Ochoa Bogh for her leadership on this issue.”

SB 720 is an immediate and straightforward step towards supporting DVAP recipients by implementing the Little Hoover Commission’s recommendations. Currently, DVAP recipients receive about half a million dollars a year, with roughly 60 percent of that coming from federal funds and the remaining 40 percent, or $200,000 per organization, from state coffers.

In fact, California already allows for advance payments of grants for some programs. For example, the 2019-20 Budget Act, which includes language limiting the advance of DVAP funds to 25 percent, provides for partial or full advance payment of grants for a variety of programs related to community corrections, emergency food delivery, and other topics.

Most IPV service providers are small organizations that lack reserves to cover expenses until reimbursement checks arrive. The wait for reimbursement can be up to three months. Consequently, many are forced to make hard decisions that benefit neither those directly affected by intimate partner violence or California, like not applying for grants or even leaving money on the table.

SB720 would provide organizations serving California’s most vulnerable the much-needed support and tools to ensure the proper resources go toward providing services to combat Domestic Violence.