Press Releases

Congresswoman Lori Trahan Applauds $833K in Federal Grant Funding to YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts and the Center for Hope and Healing

Washington, September 18, 2020

LOWELL, MA  – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) applauded the awarding of $833,787 in federal grant funding from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to the YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts in Lawrence and the Center for Hope and Healing (CHH) in Lowell. 

“Cases of domestic violence, harassment, and stalking are alarmingly on the rise. That means women and families across the country are suffering with limited resources to seek justice, safety, and recovery from these traumatic crimes. This funding will go a long way toward supporting the YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts and the Center for Hope and Healing, two incredible organizations dedicated to helping survivors and preventing violence throughout the Merrimack Valley. It’s critical that Congress continue to support victims who are in need of safe access to shelter, treatment, and resources as they seek recovery,” said Congresswoman Trahan

“It’s for that reason that I strongly support legislation to finally revive the Violence Against Women Act, which lapsed late last year. Victims become more and more in need of the vital assistance and protections from that landmark legislation each day. The Senate must send this bill to the President’s desk to become law immediately,” Congresswoman Trahan continued.

"The YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts, The City of Lawrence and MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center are thrilled to be able to bring six additional units of transitional housing and support services for survivors of domestic violence to the city of Lawrence. Providing safe, affordable housing to survivors and their families is key to empowering families to heal and move towards self-sufficiency and independence,” said Susan Staples, Executive Director of the YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts.

”We are so excited to be continuing our work engaging men and boys in Lowell. For nearly 7 years, we have worked with partner nonprofit organizations, barber shops and community members to build a movement of men committed to ending gender based violence. We look forward to deepening that work, including launching a healthy masculinity mentorship program,” said Isa Woldeguiorguis, Executive Director of the Center for Hope and Healing.

YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts Project:

The YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts is being awarded $515,000 to support their Transitional Housing Assistance Program, which provides aid to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who are homeless, or in need of transitional

housing or other housing assistance, as a result of their victimization. The program supports holistic, victim-centered approaches to providing transitional housing and support services that move individuals into permanent housing and help them integrate into a community with employment.

The organization will provide three program owned units and three scattered-site units for nine survivors and their families. The YWCA will collaborate with its two partners, the City of Lawrence and MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center, to provide a holistic, victim-centered, and multidisciplinary approach to transitional housing needs in the community. 

The project will assist clients for an anticipated minimum of 6 months and a maximum length of 24 months. Services offered will focus on: empowering victims towards self-sufficiency as well as meeting the needs of the underserved Hispanic, Spanish-speaking population in the region. The grant activities will be tailored to meet the needs of the clients, and follow-up services will be provided for at least three months once permanent housing is secured.

Center for Hope and Healing Project:

The Center for Hope and Healing is being awarded $318,787 to support their Engaging Men Program, which develops projects, including in coordination with Lowell Community Health Center and the Greater Lowell Health Alliance, that create educational programming and community organizing to encourage men and boys to work as allies with women and girls to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. 

Through this Engaging Men project, the Center for Hope and Healing and its project partners, Lowell Community Health Center and the Greater Lowell Health Alliance, will: 

  1. Develop and implement programming to recruit and train men and boys to serve as role models and/or mentors to address and prevent sexual assault; 
  2. Integrate education on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking into established enrichment programs to assist men and boys in developing healthy relationships, challenging social norms that support violence against women and girls, becoming active bystanders, and understanding the intersection of these crimes with other types of violence; 
  3. Develop and implement a train-the-trainer program for community organizations and programs and governmental agencies to incorporate training into their existing work with male clients to prevent violence against women and girls; 
  4. Establish a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) to oversee and guide project activities; 
  5. Complete a community needs assessment and develop a strategic plan that outlines the implementation phase of the project; 
  6. Provide crisis intervention at all events to respond to disclosures of victimization and make appropriate referrals; and 
  7. Cross-train project staff, partner organizations/programs, and MDT members to expand their knowledge and skills to better understand each other’s role.

Additional Background:

As the mother of two daughters, Congresswoman Trahan has remained committed to defending victims of domestic violence and ensuring their ability to get justice and access services to begin the healing process. She proudly cosponsored and supported passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, legislation to revive the expired landmark Violence Against Women Act in order to properly prevent and respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking across the country. 

In 2019, Congresswoman Trahan successfully amended the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Financial Services & General Government appropriations bill to include a provision protecting victims of domestic violence. Most recently, Congresswoman Trahan led the charge alongside her colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee urging House and Senate leaders to address sexual assault, sexual harassment, and intimate-partner violence in the military in the final version of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.