El Paso in Spotlight for Providing Innovative Solutions Helping Victims of Domestic Violence Combat Homelessness and Poverty

Texas Council on Family Violence Holds Groundbreaking Economic Justice Summit in El Paso


El Paso, Texas — June 16, 2010 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today announced the launch of new economic initiatives to help victims of domestic violence create long-term solutions to achieve economic freedom and succeed beyond staying in the shelter.

The question many women and some men struggle with is whether they can afford to flee a violent relationship. Statistics show that victims of domestic violence account for a significant proportion of those in emergency shelter in Texas and for a sizeable number of the “hidden homeless.”

“A woman should not have to choose between staying in a violent relationship or homelessness,” said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV’s president. “That is why I am proud to return home to El Paso to lead a discussion with experts from across the nation in the city that has been a national leader in helping victims achieve long term economic stability.”

El Paso business owner and domestic violence survivor, Tish Times, consults with survivors of domestic violence to make sure they are prepared to excel in the workforce. Times said, “For many escaping an abusive partner is only the first step. Moving forward and creating an independent self-sufficient life is a critical next step. Survivors need to not only obtain a job, but also have the right mindset to successfully maintain their job.”

El Paso is one of the first cities in the nation where the local workforce development board-Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande and the local shelter-Center Against Family Violence join forces to help women get started on the job search while in emergency shelter.

“Our goal is to help victims become self sufficient,” said Lorenzo Reyes, Jr., CEO of the Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande. “ Providing victims assistance in an environment they are more comfortable in during a tough time is the key component in this particular partnership. Because we are located inside the Center Against Family Violence we are able to help victims with job readiness skills and support services that can lead to employment and financial independence, in a more private one-on-one setting he added.

The Center Against Family Violence, in Partnership with TCFV and Allstate Foundation will also launch an innovative new approach to use Individual Development Accounts for victims of domestic violence. IDA’s are savings accounts for people with little or minimal assets that accelerate their savings by providing $2 for every $1 saved. Savings are used for specific asset-building purchases or investment, such as to buy a car or home, pay for education, or to start a small business.

“These IDA’s with generous funding from Allstate Foundation will help survivors find economic security,” said Stephanie Karr, President of the Center Against Family Violence. “Victims of domestic violence should not have to choose between living with an abuser and being destitute. We thank the Allstate Foundation and Workforce Solutions for their leadership. We look forward to implementing a new program that will help victims of domestic violence.”

Texas Council on Family Violence is a statewide organization representing a network of domestic violence programs that provide direct services to victims and their families, and serves as the voice of victims at the state level while working with local communities to create strategies to prevent family violence. Visit us online at http://www.tcfv.org/