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Gov. Beshear Awards $750,000 To Support Crime Victims in Kentucky

Funding awarded to 15 organizations providing victim services across the commonwealth 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 7, 2024) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Keith Jackson awarded $750,000 in grant funding to 15 organizations throughout the commonwealth to support victims of crime in rebuilding and taking back their lives. 

“Providing support for victims of crime in Kentucky has been a top priority of mine since my very first day in public office,” said Gov. Beshear. “This federal funding supports Kentuckians in some of the toughest days they will ever face. It allows us to continue to be with survivors every step of their journey, just as we pledged to be.” 

Nationwide monetary decreases in the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) have caused states across the nation, including Kentucky, to experience reductions in funding. To supplement this reduced funding, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s state fiscal year 2024 budget includes $750,000 from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). This provides additional funding for programs that focus on crime reduction or directly assist crime victims in the commonwealth. 

“Victims of crime deserve justice to be served to the fullest, and we are working every day to see that it happens,” Secretary Jackson said. “Through this grant funding, we are able to collaborate with those who are working directly with victims, making sure they are able to receive the best resources available.” 

Click here for a full list of 2024 ARPA awardees. 

Several organizations expressed their appreciation for this ARPA funding and explained how it would be used. 

The Nest, located in Lexington, has been awarded $30,000 to cover one-time costs for victims’ legal expenses. 

“The Nest has relied on ARPA funds in our work to support crime victims seeking safety and security for their families,” said Jeffrey White, executive director of The Nest. “Looking forward, we are grateful to have these funds again so we can support and empower survivors of abuse as they rebuild their lives. When we are able to financially support these families at pivotal moments in their journey toward safety, it is life-changing for them and benefits the whole community.” 

Barren River Area Safe Space (BRASS) Inc., located in Bowling Green, has been awarded $29,200 to provide emergency housing assistance to domestic violence victims. 

“Since the start of the pandemic, crisis calls requesting emergency shelter far outnumbered our shelter capacity at BRASS Inc. Our answer to this critical need was opening a block of hotel rooms so that we could attempt to shelter more victims who needed to escape domestic violence they were experiencing at home,” BRASS Executive Director Tori Henninger said. “Without ARPA funding, our current shelter occupancy would be cut by 29%, prohibiting an estimated 106 victims per year from seeking safety and beginning their journey toward healing from the abuse they experienced at the hands of their partner.” 

The Beshear-Coleman administration has awarded more than $133 million in grant funding to victim service agencies across the commonwealth since taking office. During federal fiscal year 2023, 113,763 victims in the commonwealth were served, and 1,019,355 services were provided through VOCA grant funds. 

Today’s announcement follows the Governor recently signing House Bill 207 into law, strengthening the language in the statute to include other forms of abuse and sexual exploitation of minors. 

In October, Gov. Beshear announced that a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Justice grant had been awarded to Kentucky to further assist law enforcement in bringing justice to victims of sexual assault. This funding is the second-largest award in the history of the commonwealth from the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. 

Last year, the Governor signed Senate Bill 271 and House Bill 535, requiring the collection and analysis of data related to domestic violence in the commonwealth, including domestic violence fatalities, domestic violence shelter use and reports of child abuse. In June, the Beshear-Coleman administration compiled the first statewide data report on domestic violence statistics. 

The Governor also signed Senate Bill 282, which doubled the weekly amount available for crime victims for lost wages to $300 per week from $150 per week; increased the amount available for funeral expenses to $7,500 from $5,000; and increased the overall total award available to $30,000 from $25,000.