InterAct, among other organizations, receives grant money for community enhancement program

cmyers@newsobserver.comJune 27, 2014 

  • Community Development Block Grant winners:

    StepUp Ministry - job training and placement program for unemployed individuals ($35,000)

    Community Success Initiative - “Project S.A.F.E.R.”, a project that provides various forms of guidance and support to persons with criminal records ($13,500)

    Wake Inter-Faith Hospitality Network - “New Lease on Life,” a permanent housing placement program for families currently in transitional housing ($35,000)

    Habitat for Humanity - youth summer employment program to educate and increase the employability of low-to-moderate-income youths ($17,500)

    Literacy Council of Wake County - Juvenile Literacy Center tutoring program ($20,000)

    Guiding Lights- Nurse Assistant training program with special emphasis on care of older adults ($12,000)

For a victim of domestic violence, obtaining a protective order against an abuser can literally save a life.

Yet many who stay in abusive situations run the risk of encountering their abuser in the very act of getting help. For these victims, physically going to the courthouse to complete the paperwork poses a daunting challenge.

“Going to court is intimidating,” Leigh Duque, Executive Director of InterAct, a nonprofit that provides safety, support and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, according to its website.

To counter this, InterAct is implementing a new electronic filing program that lets victims submit an application without visiting the courthouse. Instead, they will be able to come to InterAct’s response center.

Currently, the center offers forensic exams and free, confidential services. With the proposed program, victims will also be able to fill out applications with the assistance of trained advocates without leaving the safety of the center. In addition, they will have the option to have the case heard before a Wake County judge by video conference.

Right now, the details are still being determined, but Duque says the program is on track to launch in the fall.

“We know that protective orders are effective,” Duque said, but increasing access to them is crucial. According to Duque, roughly four percent of domestic violence homicide victims were connected to an agency like InterAct.

In recognition of this need, the City Council unanimously approved a recommendation to award a $35,000 grant to InterAct. Last Tuesday, at a meeting of the Budget and Economic Development Committee, the city allocated a total of $175,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to seven programs. The money was made available to organizations to aid community enhancement.

A review committee composed of representatives from the Community Services Department, the Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness and the City grants management team chose the projects and made recommendations for funding.

These projects ranged from a youth summer employment program at Habitat for Humanity to a housing program for homeless families called New Lease on Life.

Non-profits and faith-based organizations were encouraged to apply for the grants on the City of Raleigh’s web site, and the Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness helped to advertise the opportunity.

A call for proposals was issued in early December, and the department received thirteen applications. Two were eliminated after an initial review, and four more were rejected for various reasons, including questions of need for the grants and effectiveness of the programs themselves.

Myers 919-829-4696

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