Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday announced they were each committing $2.1 million to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles to assist domestic violence victims with few places to turn during the city’s coronavirus restrictions.
The joint $4.2 million grant will support victims and their children for 10 weeks, providing shelter, meals and counseling, at a time when such services are already being strained by the pandemic, according to a news release.
While most people are safer at home during the outbreak, social confinement can be especially dangerous for domestic violence victims, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press briefing Thursday.
The mayor says domestic violence reports have increased since the county issued its stay at home order, and the city’s shelters have had to turn away 90 domestic violence victims due to lack of space.
“That’s unacceptable for all of us,” Garcetti said. “These shelters are full not because of increased demand, but because they are intended to be temporary, and Los Angeles’ shelters normally house victims and their children from 30 to 45 days.”
Usually victims are rehabilitated and return home or move into transitional housing, but because of the pandemic they’re “frozen there,” the mayor said. And according to Garcetti, one study showed that 91% of women on L.A.’s Skid Row are domestic or sexual violence survivors.
Two weeks ago, the mayor funded hotel rooms and meal stipends for 80 families for 15 days. But on Monday, more money will be needed to extend services for 53 of those families, as well as to support new cases.
The funding announced Thursday will cover 90 families a week, with an additional 90 victims every week thereafter for 10 weeks, the Clara Lionel Foundation said.
“I thanked Rihanna once already, but she stepped up a second time,” the mayor said.
Last week, Rihanna’s foundation donated another $1 million in grants toward COVID-19 response, a number that was matched by Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation.
The $2 million will support undocumented workers, the children of front-line health workers and first responders, and incarcerated, elderly and homeless people in L.A. and New York City.
The Clara Lionel Foundation also gave $5 million in coronavirus relief toward food banks, testing, health care worker training, virus prevention and distribution of critical respiratory supplies.
Earlier this week, Dorsey — who also serves as CEO of Square — said he would give $1 billion of his equity in that company to help fund COVID-19 relief, girls’ health and education, and universal basic income pilot programs.