On Thursday evening, the U.S. Senate passed an omnibus spending package, taking the final step in the legislative process to provide significant funding for YWCAs and to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In response, YWCA USA CEO, Margaret Mitchell, released the following statement:
YWCA USA is deeply grateful to Congress – particularly the group of bipartisan Representatives and Senators who tirelessly led this effort – for passing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. This legislation takes steps to strengthen services, invest in prevention efforts, and to expand access for survivors in rural areas and those requiring culturally-specific services. YWCAs who provide domestic violence shelter, sexual assault and domestic violence hotline assistance, housing services, as well as childcare also welcome the long-awaited funding allocated through the FY2022 appropriations process. We are pleased that all Fiscal Year 2022 funding levels met or exceeded all FY2021 levels, recognizing the needs for assistance following the increase in demand for services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the return of Community Project Funding has brought a myriad of opportunities for 13 YWCAs, whose projects were funded through the omnibus spending package.
As YWCAs continue to stand on the frontlines and address the unpredictable challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we see first-hand the toll of gender-based violence.
Each day, we get up and witness the value and importance of maintaining protections for survivors – particularly women of color and marginalized communities – identified in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). Through our YWomenVote 2022 survey, we also know that 70% of women believe that it is critically important for Congress to reauthorize VAWA. Today, those voices and priorities were realized.
As we celebrate the reauthorization of VAWA and funding for FY2022, we urge Congress to continue the important work of reauthorizing the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), providing robust funding for childcare, and investing in solutions that address the significant workforce challenges and loss in revenues experienced by YWCAs.