SABRA among two groups to split over $29K in funding

Published 3:57 pm Monday, September 14, 2020

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced late last week that nearly $29,500 had been awarded to support two nonprofit agencies providing aid for domestic violence victims in a 12-county area across west Alabama during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

One of those groups was the Selma and Blackbelt Regional Abuse (SABRA) Sanctuary, which received $11,5858 to provide domestic violence awareness education across its service area, which includes Dallas, Greene, Marengo, Perry, Sumter and Wilcox counties.

According to SABRA Sanctuary Executive Director Barbara Miles, the funds will be used to ramp up the organization’s mobile capabilities and ensure that domestic violence issues don’t fall from the radar during the current public health emergency.

“The main thing that the funds are designed for is to address the problems we’re experiencing during COVID,” Miles said. “It’s some of the same problems others are experiencing because of social distancing and no face-to-face meetings. We have to be very careful.”

Miles said the funds will largely be spent to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, for SABRA workers and to mobilize the organization’s prevention and awareness program, which usually sends a prevention educator into schools, health fairs and other events to educate people on domestic violence and solutions.

“We have not had the capabilities of working mobiley as we need to,” Miles said. “We’re still up and going and doing what we need to do, but we have to have access and follow guidelines to keep everybody safe.”

Miles is hoping that the education and awareness program can go digital and continue reaching young people in Black Belt schools.

“We’re hoping the schools will accept us in mobiley and accept our education that way,” Miles said. “We also do education in the communities. Once we get all of this in place, hopefully, we’ll be able to keep domestic violence issues out there and keep people aware of it and especially let them know there’s a way out of domestic violence and we’re here to help them.”

Though Miles said she knew the grant funding was coming down, she didn’t know how much funding to expect or what that funding could be used for.

“We’ve been looking forward to it because we do not have the capabilities to do our work remotely like other companies have been,” Miles said. “So, we’ll be able to do all of that better.”

Turning Point, which provides counseling and other services to victims of domestic violence across Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties, received $17,835 in grant funding.

“Even through the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence victims in west Alabama continue to need professional assistance, and these professionals at SABRA and Turning Point are working diligently to help them and to educate the public,” Ivey said in a press release. “I commend the staffs of these nonprofits who work to protect victims and their families every day.”

As with many grants announced by the governor over the past few weeks, the grants will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

“ADECA joins Gov. Ivey in support of SABRA and Turning Point as they continue their work on behalf of domestic violence victims,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said in a press release. “ADECA is pleased to partner with these organizations to ensure that all abuse victims in west Alabama have access to services and that communities are made more aware of how to recognize and report these crimes.”