Sacramento Based Nonprofit Receives A $433,000 Grant to Help Domestic Violence Victims and Their Pets Stay Safe Together
Up to 48 percent of domestic violence victims cite concern for their pets as a main reason for being unable to flee (Ascione, F.R., 2007). RedRover, a Sacramento based animal rescue, learned this fact and knew they had to act. They are doing just that. In 2007 they started their RedRover Relief Domestic Violence program. This program helps victims and their pets find safety together. The program just received a huge boost with a $433,000 grant donation from an anonymous foundation. RedRover president and CEO Nicole Forsyth was quoted by a local newspaper as saying that “this generous grant saves lives by expanding this vital program to more domestic violence survivors across the country so they can escape abusive relationships safely with their precious pets. It also allows us to launch a Safe Housing expansion pilot program to identify boarding options beyond those just onsite.” (The Mercury News).
Safe Housing Grant Program
So just how will the money be used? A large portion of the new funds is going toward the two main grant programs that already exist at RedRover. Their Safe Housing grant program donates money directly to domestic violence shelters. It allows them to fund new programs to start housing animals with their owners directly on-site. The recent anonymous donation is allowing RedRover to up these grants from the original $6,000 to $20,000 per award. Since its inception in 2012, the Safe Housing grants program has awarded 58 grants totaling $238,720 (The Mercury News). The RedRover Safe Housing grant program works directly with Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T) to help shelters implement the new programs. SAF-T is a national initiative that helps domestic violence shelters learn how to safely house pets on-site.
RedRover and SAF-T are working towards to goal of having at least one pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in each state. Currently, there are none the following nine states: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia (WBIW.com). These states are strongly encouraged to apply for the RedRover Safe Housing grant program. Grant application deadlines for the Safe Housing grant program are May 15th and October 15th each year.
Safe Escape Grant Program
Another large portion of the money is going to the RedRover Safe Escape grants program. This program donates money directly to domestic violence victims. It helps them pay for temporary pet boarding costs as well as urgent veterinary care. Since helping their first victim in 2007, the program has allowed 688 people to safely house their pets for a total of 13,897 nights of boarding (The Mercury News). Only a small fraction of the over 2.500 domestic violence shelters in America allow animals to be housed along with their owners, says SAF-T. This creates a huge dilemma for many victims. They must either leave their pet behind and subject them to possible harm, or stay with their abusers for their pet’s safety.
This was exactly the dilemma that Lynn was facing. Lynn is on the 688 victims RedRover has helped. According to RedRover; Lynn and her family, a two-year-old daughter and a one-year-old dog named Coco, had been living in fear for months. Her abuser regularly “’Tore up the apartment,’ and had once kicked Coco” (RedRover). Lynn finally summoned the courage to leave her abuser. She knew, however, that Coco would not be safe if left behind. Unfortunately, Lynn quickly found that she had nowhere to go. Her local shelter would not house pets on-site. That is when Lynn’s case manager pointed her towards RedRover. She was awarded a Safe Escape grant that helped her pay for 30 nights of emergency boarding and allowed her and her family a fresh start.
Safe Escape grant “applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Grants are awarded based upon several factors, including: urgency, financial need, and available funding” (RedRover). The generous grant just received by the organization will greatly impact the latter of these factors. The money will allow RedRover to help dozens, if not hundreds, of domestic violence victims who might have previously been denied a Safe Escape grant due only to a shortage of available finances.
Even though RedRover just received a greatly needed boost to their finances, they are not going to stop working toward their goal of helping domestic violence victims and their pets stay together. They are continuing to work tirelessly toward their goal of finding a safe situation for domestic violence victims and their pets. They are hoping to have nothing but the happy ending that they were able to provide for Lynn and her family.
Further information, as well as grant applications for all RedRover grant programs, can be found on the RedRover website at redrover.org/redrover-relief-domestic-violence-resources