Governor Kay Ivey announced four agencies in North Alabama in total will receive almost $118,000. The funds will come from the CARES Act to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault overcome the abusive situation.
WAAY 31 spoke with the groups in Huntsville about how they plan to discreetly bring services to people who need help, but can't leave the house because of COVID-19. Both the Crisis Services of North Alabama Inc. and AshaKiran Inc. plan to use the funds to make their virtual assistance safer and more easily accessable.
The AshaKiran Community Outreach Coordinator, Cara Godlesky, said the grant will help them bring services directly to peoples homes on a laptop or phone.
“Whether that is virtual counseling sessions, whether its to be able to talk to them remotely in a more confidential way, or having a safe online confidential server," said Godlesky. "Things like that because without those in place people, again, cannot go to work then they cannot go and seek the help that they need.”
AshaKiran is a statewide agency providing free resources, such as counseling and shelter to trauma victims.
Godlesky said a $12,521 grant from the state will help provide more secure and private virtual assistance to clients who cannot escape their abuser.
“We really wanted to focus on updating our communications and our technology so that we can talk to clients or reach clients and other organizations remotely, and make sure they will not be exposed and make sure they are out of harms way," said Godlesky.
The Crisis Services of North Alabama offer similar services, but will use its $46,251 grant a little differently. Development Manager, Becky Cecil, explained some money will go to telehealth counseling, while the rest is spent on more PPE at its shelters.
“We haven’t stopped working since COVID happened," said Cecil. "We’ve had to change things a little bit to accommodate, but we haven’t ever stopped servicing the clients that need us in North Alabama.”
Coronavirus limits the number of volunteers and employees the Crisis Services of North Alabama can have operating their phones, so they are working to find more safe services to provide their clients with the volunteers they have.
“With people being home more, we see a lot more calls but we’re limited to how many we can take based on our volunteers," said Cecil. "So, the more volunteers we have, the more calls we can take."
Both agencies in Huntsville have emergency assistance 24/7.
For emergency assistance you can call AshaKiran at 256-509-1882 or Crisis Services of North Alabama at 256-716-1000
To learn more about services AshaKiran provides, click here.
To learn more about services Crisis Services of North Alabama provides, click here.