$1.6M in federal funds to help build domestic violence shelter for Ventura County

 In Latest Coverage

A federal award of $1.6 million will help create a short-term domestic violence shelter with 14 to 18 beds in Ventura County.

The funds, administered through the Ventura County Family Justice Center, will allow it to increase its capacity and to house more survivors so that they can leave abusive situations, said Caroline Prijatel-Sutton, executive director of Oxnard-based Coalition for Family Harmony, which will operate the shelter.

Reps. Salud Carbajal and Julia Brownley, whose districts cover portions of Ventura County, visited the Ventura center Monday to discuss the funding and how it will expand room availability for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Both praised the center, which opened in 2019 and also provides help for victims of elder and child abuse, hate crimes and human trafficking.

“This is an incredible program that is going to serve survivors of violence across the county,” said Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, at a news conference at the Loma Vista Road center.

Brownley, D-Westlake Village, said those who come to utilize the center’s services should know that they are in safe hands.

“Regardless of whether they suffer in silence or suffer out loud, it is incredibly difficult, perhaps even impossible to heal from trauma without being given space, the resources and time necessary to cope and to move forward,” she said.

Carbajal secured the latest funding for the center, one of three Ventura-based projects that received federal funding in fiscal year 2024. The other projects were $1 million toward the Westview Village housing project and $500,000 for the city’s portion of the state water interconnection project.

The center is also poised to receive additional donations. The Ventura County Community Foundation is expected to give $440,000 to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to build emergency tiny pallet shelters to help even more domestic violence survivors at the shelter, Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said. Prijatel-Sutton said the pallet shelters will be used as additional beds and located in the same area as the shelter.

The latest infusion of public and private funds for the family justice center come on top of $640,000 Brownley secured last year for the Carmen Ramirez Family Justice Center in Oxnard. It was named after the late councilmember and the county’s first Latina supervisor. She died in August 2022 after being struck by a truck while walking to a downtown Oxnard event.

The Oxnard center will open in late summer or early autumn as a restraining order clinic to help crime victims in English and Spanish, Nasarenko said.

In June 2023, supervisors approved a third center in east county, including funding for a first staff member. East county residents make up about 20% of the clients at the Ventura center, Nasarenko has said previously.

In April, a proposed East County family justice center was discussed in Simi Valley. Next up for the newest center is a two-day strategy session set for September.

For more information on the center, visit vcfjc.com.

This article was originally published by the VC Star.

Start typing and press Enter to search