Sandy Springs, GA — Representatives Lucy McBath (GA-06) and Ben Cline (VA-06) have introduced legislation to allow centers and organizations supporting survivors and those experiencing domestic violence to more easily receive federal funding under the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA) and continue their work. H.R. 6685, the Protect Our Women and Waive Emergency Requirements (POWER) Act eases the requirement for in-kind contribution matching during public health emergencies, which typically come in the form of volunteer hours or equipment donations. With reports of domestic violence during this public health crisis on this rise, many organizations continue to need financial support, yet are having trouble continuing their in-person volunteer programs.

“Since this public health crisis began, the nation has seen a tragic increase in the frequency and severity of domestic violence claims,” said McBath. “Organizations that provide resources for survivors and those experiencing violence need our support to continue to serve their communities. I’m glad to take this step with my colleague across the aisle to adapt funding programs to continue to support these organizations as they protect families and work tirelessly to prevent violence.”

“Throughout my career as a prosecutor, Delegate, and now as Congressman, I have always fought for the victims of domestic violence. By temporarily suspending the nonfederal match requirement in the Family Violence Prevention Services Act, Congress can ensure that support services remain available to victims during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cline. “Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have made it nearly impossible for entities to utilize the ‘in-kind’ contribution option specified in the FVPSA and is why H.R. 6685 is necessary to safeguard programs for domestic violence victims across the country.”

FVPSA, first authorized in 1984, provides essential services for survivors and their children. Federal grants through FVPSA require many recipients to provide a match of roughly 20% of the grant amount. H.R. 6685 waives the nonfederal match requirement on FVPSA grants during public health emergencies.

McBath is also the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (FVPSA)H.R. 5041, which reauthorizes and expands funding for programs focused on protecting survivors and preventing family and domestic violence. Among the provisions for survivors, this bill includes authorizations for emergency housing, counseling, and assistance for those in financial distress.