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Brindisi Joins Supporters to Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act

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Women housed in the Binghamton YWCA and all around the United States could be affected if the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) does not get renewed by congress. Congressman Anthony Brindisi is calling for Mitch McConnell and Senate to pass the legislation, after voting to reauthorize VAWA in April in the House of Representatives.

"My worry is that if we don't have the VAWA renewed by November, funding for critical programs to assist survivors of domestic violence and organizations that assist them are going to be in real trouble," said Brindisi. 

The funding is provided at a federal level to support organizations like the YWCA, where the YWCA is the largest supporter of domestic violence services, according to Carol Koppens, Executive Director of the Binghamton YWCA and Broome County. Staff work with women who come for help, where victims are provided with resources and housing. VAWA funding runs out in November, which preserves and expands housing protections, grant programs, and increases education programs to reduce domestic violence. 

"Across the county, there are thousands and thousands of women receiving services from the YWCA, and that will all go away is this piece of legislation doesn't get reauthorized," said Koppens.

According to Director of Residential Services Theresa Bovier, 157 out of 451 individuals coming through the Binghamton YWCA shelter in the past year identified as fleeing or being a survivor of domestic violence, which does not include the women who might not have felt safe enough to reveal that information. 

The need for housing and programs for domestic violence in Broome County is growing. The YWCA building holds 54 apartments, provides 4 long-term supportive housing programs, and an emergency shelter. Koppens says 80 percent identify that they have experienced some form of violence.

October is domestic violence awareness month.