$8.6M available to help crime victims


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has an open call to all West Michigan groups that serve crime victims: a sizable amount of money is available for the asking.

About $8.6 million in Victim of Crime Act grants are being made available for Michigan businesses, nonprofits and other organizations that service crime victims through the Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission.

The CVSC has allotted to West Michigan up to $518,777 for groups that serve victims of domestic violence, $612,217 for serving victims of adult sexual assault, $252,595 for serving victims of child abuse and $481,834 for serving victims deemed to be underserved, for a total of nearly $1.87 million.

Health and Human Services started accepting applications for this round of funding July 20 and will accept applications through 3 p.m. Aug. 18. Groups awarded funding will be notified in late September or early October. 

The federal funding will be divided among 10 Michigan “prosperity” regions: Upper Peninsula, Northwest, Northeast, West, East Central, East, South Central, Southwest, Southeast and Detroit Metro. The money will go toward organizations that serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and underserved victims, which includes victims of human trafficking and drunken driving, among others. 

“We worked with the Michigan Public Health Institute to devise a formula, so we looked at … crime rate, population and rurality,” said James McCurtis Jr., CVSC director. “We came up with how much money is needed for each of those regions. With the West region, you have the highest (outside of metro Detroit), but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the highest crime rate.” 

This is the CVSC’s second round of requests for proposals for VOCA Targeted Victim Services funding this year, McCurtis said. 

“The Department of Justice gives each state money to award to public and nonprofit organizations to help with victims of these four categories. Michigan received $35 million this year, for the upcoming fiscal year,” he said. “When we did our first request for proposition, we awarded nearly $26.4 million of that grant money. So, there’s about $8.6 million remaining.” 

According to data from McCurtis, the first round funded 14 West Michigan groups: Women’s Information Service Inc., Michigan Advocacy Program, Relief After Violent Encounter-Ionia/Montcalm Inc., Sylvia’s Place Inc., Children’s Assessment Center, Child Abuse Council of Muskegon County Children’s Advocacy Center, Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters, Center for Women in Transition, Every Woman’s Place Inc., Children’s Advocacy Center, City of Grand Rapids 61st District Court, Muskegon County, YWCA West Central Michigan and Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center

He said his department is eager to give out the remainder of the money and asks local organizations to apply quickly. 

 “We want them to apply for more dollars. We have money that’s available to organizations that help victims of a crime, so we want organizations to apply for that grant money,” he said. 

“We really need (it in) the West, because … with the exception of Detroit metro, you lead in all categories. We need nonprofits and public groups that work with these particular victims to apply for these dollars so we can get the money out there.” 

Organizations wishing to apply for the grant can visit the CVSC website at bit.ly/crimegrant.

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