Freedom House

Parker County’s Freedom House was one of 22 domestic violence service providers in Texas to receive a 2020 Swalm Grant.

The funding comes from the Texas Council on Family Violence.

“In 2005, longtime philanthropic Swalm Family gifted funds to the TCFV to establish an endowment. The proceeds support efforts in direct service and work toward ending domestic violence in Texas,” Freedom House Executive Director Patti Wilson said. “Family violence centers that are members of TCFV and provide core services that meet specific criteria are eligible for an award.

“Freedom House was eligible for an award this funding cycle so we applied and received a $7,500 award.”

This year, priority was given to applicants that specified a need related to COVID-19 or a service area highlighted in the Texas State Plan, a report TCFV published in 2019 to identify the biggest gaps in domestic violence services, according to a press release from TCFV.

“I’ve never seen a greater time of need for domestic violence victims and agencies than the one COVID-19 has induced,” TCFV CEO Gloria Aguilera Terry said. “Texas has experienced an increase in domestic violence hotline calls during the pandemic, and we know that economic distress hinders victims from leaving life-threatening relationships. This year, agencies’ needs were so great that TCFV awarded more Swalm Grants than usual, and each amount was given with the hope and expectation that it would save Texas lives.”

Freedom House has many unbudgeted costs that are not covered by grants, Wilson said, including appliance repair and/or replacement, building and grounds maintenance for some of their facilities, roof repair, and air conditioner repair and/or replacement. The TCFV funds will replace the main air conditioning unit at Freedom House’s emergency shelter and an appliance at one of their facilities.

“Due to COVID-19, we have seen a reduction in donations, fundraising income and government funding. These sources of income are typically used to supplement costs that are not directly related to victim services,” Wilson said. “The award received from the Swalm Endowment Fund means we can afford to replace the items that will allow us to provide a comfortable residential facility for our clients as they transition through a difficult time in their life.

“We are grateful to the Texas Council on Family Violence, the Parker County community, all levels of government agencies, donors, sponsors and volunteers who support our efforts to end abuse and violence through prevention and intervention.”

To track the direct impact of Swalm Grants, TCFV requires every recipient to submit a report at the end of the grant cycle detailing their use of the funds and its effect on survivors.

“We assisted 59 victims of domestic violence during our grant period,” said Conny Steele, interim director of Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center in Marble Falls, a 2019 Swalm Grant recipient that used funds to help survivors pay for essential needs. “We assisted clients with utilities, housing, transportation, school supplies, clothing, medicine, birth certificates, legal fees, vehicle registration, ID cards, car repairs and phone bills.”

To find out more about Freedom House, visit freedomhousepc.org.

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