The funds from the grant will provide a wide-range of services to help survivors of domestic violence, as well as their children, in a new Queens location.
The services offered, thanks to the grant, include a 24/7 hotline, counseling and case management services, advocacy, financial education to survivors, healthy relationship workshops to teens and services to teens in abusive relationships.
Through other grants, the non-profit organization also offers employment services, legal immigration assistance and wellness practices that include yoga, acubeads, meditation and tai chi exercise.
“The center has established expertise in working with many Asian cultures on issues of domestic violence,” said Cecile Noel, executive deputy commissioner of HRA’s Emergency Intervention Services. “The center provides individuals and families with services and resources that can save lives and help survivors recover.”
These services will all be available at the center’s new space, located at 86-26 Broadway in Elmhurst. The new office will have double the amount of counselors and will be three-times as large as the group’s former office.
“I am so excited that the NYAWC was awarded a three-year contract from the HRA and that finally, we will have their new site in Queens,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim. “This grant will help to provide culturally based services, programs and workshops that are so necessary for our community.”
In addition to the city grant the center received, it is also getting federal funding to better serve victims of human trafficking.
NYAWC provides services for both survivors of labor and sex trafficking, including English classes, employment services and, in some cases, temporary emergency housing.
Human trafficking is a problem that’s plagued the Asian community worldwide.
According to Public Advocate Letitia James, 40 percent of defendants in human trafficking intervention court are Asian.
A huge problem in the lack of reporting in these crimes is fear over immigration status, as well as general shame, according to James, something that needs to be addressed. She also said that language barriers create an issue.
“As we walk these streets, we need to let everyone know that they should no longer be ashamed, they should no longer be afraid that they’ll be deported, or that their status will be a barrier,” James said. “We want to keep them safe.”
She also noted that the average age of initial victimization is 13 years old.
“Girls should be discovering lipstick,” James said. “They’re discovering being victims of human trafficking.”
State Senator Jose Peralta pointed specifically to Jackson Avenue in Queens as a hub of human trafficking. He said that opening a center like the one in Elmhurst is greatly beneficial to an immigrant community.
“The work of NYAWC is priceless, exemplary and above all, culturally sensitive,” said Peralta. “With the opening of this new center in Elmhurst, the organization will keep providing these crucial services to a very vulnerable population.”
The center will also attempt to address language issues, which create a barrier in the reporting of these crimes to law enforcement. In Elmhurst alone there are large pockets of Chinese, Indian, Filipino and Bangladeshi populations, and of the top-10 languages spoken in Elmhurst, nine are of Asian origins.
“NYAWC is proud to have a team of counselors that come from different cultural backgrounds and experiences and speak many Asian languages and dialects and Spanish,” said Larry Lee, executive director of NYAWC.