To: Kansas City Star Editorial Board
From: Metro Family Violence Coalition
Date: June 18, 2020
The Metropolitan Family Violence Coalition represents the bi-state domestic violence agencies in the Kansas City metro area. We want to take this opportunity to thank Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas for his June 11th “Kansas City Star” editorial focused on the challenges the community faces in addressing domestic violence during these perilous time. As the Mayor shared, the requirement for families to stay at home necessitated by the Covid-19 response has led to an increasing 3-month surge in domestic violence intensified by the economic crisis and the painful illustration of police brutality and systemic racism. Hotline calls, referrals for shelter and requests for services have increased every day. This is despite the fact that all of our shelters were already functioning at well over 100% capacity prior to this crisis. Individually and collectively we have no ability to address these added needs as they arise. In fact, our capacity has been reduced as we attempt to maintain social distance within our crowded shelters. As the Mayor clearly conveyed, the epidemic of added domestic violence is an issue that requires immediate action as a life and death situation.
While we do need to think outside the box as Mayor Lucas challenged in his editorial, the need for housing for domestic violence survivors and their children is a matter of profound urgency. We have hundreds of victims and their kids who have no home, no job, and no safe place to go. We know how to help survivors overcome trauma and abuse, but we need to have the resources to assist individuals and families safely start over. Toward that end – we would invite the metro Counties to use some of their Covid-19 funds to invest in scatter-site housing – a benefit for victims and for area landlords. We also hope that local companies and philanthropic foundations will join together to help us house these vulnerable families. We urge Kansas City and the metro counties to call for the State of Missouri to release the millions of dollars of Victims of Crime (VOCA) funds it has still not distributed from its 2020-2021 allocation. These desperately needed funds are federal pass-through dollars distributed through the states to assist victims of crime in finding housing and needed supportive services. We also need subsidized childcare so domestic violence survivors can secure employment and a new beginning,
We thank Mayor Lucas for countering the age old question of “Why doesn’t she leave?” Instead as a community we need to ask “Why doesn’t he stop?” And even more urgently “Where can she go?” Thank you for helping us maintain our collaboration and important metro safety-net.
For those who are in an abusive relationship or need help, don’t stop calling our hotlines. Services are much more than emergency shelter, and our advocates can support you, help you plan for safety, and connect you to services. Our shared metro hotline is 816-HOTLINE.
Rosalyn Brown, Joyce Williams Center/Friends of Yates
Mary Anne Metheny, Hope House
Susan Miller, Rose Brooks Center
Courtney Thomas, Newhouse
Robin Winner, Synergy Services
Heidi Wooten, Safehome
Kansas City Star June 11th Editorial: https://www.kansascity.com/