AVP empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. AVP operates a free bilingual, 24-hour, 365-day-a-year crisis intervention hotline that is staffed by trained volunteers and our professional counselors and advocates for LGBTQ and HIV-affected victims and survivors of violence. AVP answers 3,000 calls a year—an average of one caller every two and a half hours. Callers receive immediate crisis counseling and on-going short or long-term counseling and other supportive services, including police, court and social services advocacy, economic empowerment and accompaniment. All of AVP services are free and confidential.
Throughout the past year and a half, the Economic Empowerment Specialist has worked to grow our Economic Empowerment Program to serve clients here at AVP. The Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) at AVP supports clients with free and confidential financial and workforce development services, including financial counseling, which includes budgeting, resolving debt, building credit, and tax support, and job readiness services, including resume and cover letter building, mock interviewing, and career planning.
AVP recognizes that increasing economic stability and success reduces vulnerability to violence, and that violence has a very real economic cost, particularly for marginalized LGBTQ and HIV-affected people. EEP’s purpose is to directly address financial safety, health, and wellness, with survivors of violence, to support their overall well-being. EEP works in conjunction with the hotline, counseling, and advocacy programs, as well as with the legal team, to provide clients with comprehensive, concrete support in setting and reaching economic empowerment goals possible.
EEP is centered on a trauma-informed and survivor-centered approach. We understand that often violence impacts many economic and career aspects of people’s lives. Clients create service plans of goals that they want to work on with their EES and the work that is done is guided by their plan. We work on their immediate goals while understanding that the larger systems of oppression often effect many clients.
AVP has worked with The Financial Clinic to continue to grow the program and to expand the expertise of the Economic Empowerment Specialist. They have been an integral part of supporting the expansion of the program and providing services to the clients at AVP. The Financial Clinic has provided training to the Economic Empowerment Specialist and have supported her in creating workshops for clients. Her access to Change Machine has been an important resource in supporting clients with their economic empowerment goals.
–Teal Inzunza, Economic Empowerment Specialist, The Anti-Violence Project