Funds restored: GR steps up for domestic violence program

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Three weeks after a key resource for domestic violence survivors lost funding, the city of Grand Rapids has stepped in to provide temporary financial support.

“The city generously intervened and… approved a budget amendment request in order to support the continued efforts of the Domestic Assault Response Team (DART) program,” wrote 61st District Court Administrator Tanya Todd in an email to News 8. “The plan is to use contingent account (dollars) to fund the program through June 30, 2022 while we work on a more sustainable funding source.” 

City commissioners approved the financial assistance at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

Todd did not yet have a date by which DART would resume its on-scene work with Grand Rapids police.

“Hopefully, as soon as possible,” wrote Todd. 

DART staff respond to domestic violence calls with Grand Rapids police if the survivor wants the assistance.

The program, which is based out of 61st District Court, was surprised and disappointed in early October when it learned the state health department had denied DART’s grant request, despite having funded the program for years.

DART was forced to cut all but one of its eight part-time workers.

The one employee still on staff has been contacting survivors by phone or email after the police call instead of providing support and resources on-scene in real time.

It’s that face-to-face interaction, available 24/7, that the city’s funding will reinstate. 

“We are appreciative of the city commission’s swift attention and approval of additional funding for the DART program,” wrote court administrator Todd. “We will be meeting with the prosecutor’s office and GRPD next week and then later with our partner agencies regarding next steps.” 

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