Esperanza Shelter’s mission is to shelter those threatened by domestic abuse and to promote healthy relationships. We have provided domestic violence services in Santa Fe County since 1976. We are the only domestic abuse agency in our county. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff has been telecommuting through secure video chat and phones to maintain client support. Our shelter has moved to a transitional housing model.To date, our safety measures have kept all staff and clients COVID negative.
Our funding request will be utilized to purchase client’s cell phones and/or minutes through our Hope & Comfort Fund. This fund was established in 2019 to assist victims of domestic abuse in securing necessities and their individual emergency needs. It is important to note that the majority of Esperanza’s clients and their children flee domestic violence with no time to pack essential items. It is not uncommon for abusers to intentionally hide or destroy items to control their victims (e.g. social security card, driver’s license, cell phones, car keys, etc.). To maintain power and control in an abusive relationship it is typical for an abuser to deny a victim access to credit cards, banking information and other forms of financial support. Another tactic used by an abuser is installing tracking software on their victim’s laptop and/or cell phone.
Clients need new cell phones to stay safe. Having a cell phone provides clients ongoing access to their family, friends, resources, doctors, therapists and Esperanza staff. Providing survivors with a cell phone promotes independence, empowerment and healing. Our advocates help clients identify their emergency needs and submit written requests to the Hope and Comfort fund. Our Director of Finance and Operations receives the written requests and manages tracking and disbursement.
Examples of assistance provided by the Hope & Comfort Fund to both our shelter residents and our participants in our non-residential programming are as follows:
• Pre-paid cell phones and/or phone cards with minutes
• Replacement of identity documents
• Medication purchase assistance
• Bus passes and train tickets
• New car seats, strollers and Pack and Plays for infants and toddlers
• Apartment application fees
• Temporary help with utilities and insurance
• Car repairs
The Hope & Comfort Fund is an ongoing project with no end date set, with an annual goal of $12,000. Esperanza’s grant request for $1,000 through the Awesome Foundation helps cover the monthly costs of purchasing cell phone minutes and cell phones for our clients in need. Average monthly costs for minutes is $35.00 with an additional $59.00 to purchase phones for those who need them.
Funded by Santa Fe, NM (October 2020)