Harris County Commissioner Ellis, advocates announce $4.7 million domestic violence assistance fund

HOUSTON – Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and domestic violence advocates will announce a $4.7 million Domestic Violence Assistance Fund to help victims.

The fund will be used for efforts to combat the county’s rising domestic violence reports that include homicides.

A news conference is scheduled to begin at 10 am KPRC 2 will carry a livestream of the event.

The announcement comes during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which raises awareness for domestic violence victims and survivors. Speakers also will discuss gun violence. According to a news release, the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC) will administer program funds provided by Harris County and be responsible for application intake, review and approval. HCDVCC provides technical assistance and capacity-building support for smaller recipient organizations.

The program, which reportedly uses American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, will support approximately 3,800 households and 6,650 individuals, Ellis said. It provides flexible financial assistance to domestic violence survivors via grants to nonprofit, community-based organizations that serve survivors.

Reports of domestic violence increased locally, nationally, and globally during the COVID-19 pandemic, the news release said. In Texas, 204 people were reportedly killed by intimate partners in 2021 and 46 (22%) were in Harris County.

“Family violence affects everyone, but women of color are most likely to be harmed,” Commissioner Ellis said. “While 1 in 3 white women report having experienced domestic violence during the pandemic, the rates of abuse were 50% and higher for those marginalized by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, and cognitive physical ability.”

In Texas, 204 people were reportedly killed by intimate partners in 2021. Of that number, stats reveal 46, or 22% of those victims, were in Harris County. Domestic violence-related homicides throughout Texas increased by 23% in 2020.

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