As a mom to four growing kids and a wife who works full time, when something goes wrong and I am in the middle of a crisis and someone offers to help, I often feel that I don’t even have the time to stop to explain what I need in order for them to help me. But when I do take a breath, and enlist another’s help, it usually turns out better than if I had traveled the road alone and I am always grateful for the assistance.
The impact of COVID-19 seems to be presenting this type of crisis moment for many of us. At OVW’s summer consultations and listening sessions we heard that much help is needed by tribes to respond to COVID-19 related needs. In response, OVW is offering a total of $5 million in grant funds that can be used for a wide range of items or services currently needed by tribes, including providing shelter space for survivors, assistance to victims, and unexpected expenses ranging from the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and those needing services to plexiglas for distancing in public court waiting areas and court rooms. Funds can also be used to provide additional staffing for tribal victim services organizations or to pay for staff overtime.
Because we heard from tribal leaders and members that tribes are so busy responding to the many challenges made worse by the pandemic, OVW has worked hard to help quickly distribute this funding that is so urgently needed. We have significantly streamlined the application process and we are available to help tribes meet the Sept. 16 deadline for funding from the solicitation, which opened on July 31.
To simplify the application process to meet the urgent COVID-19 need we have reduced the number of documents required to be submitted so that only a project narrative and budget are necessary at the time of the application. We also shortened and simplified the project narrative requirement; usually project narratives are the most time consuming part of the application process.
We hope that OVW’s COVID-19/Violence Against Women Assistance to Tribes Solicitation will provide funds needed to help tribal communities protect residents from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking as we all work together to respond to the pandemic.