BY World's Editorial Writers
Saturday, August 29, 2009
8/29/09 at 3:39 AM
There undoubtedly will be criticism of the decisions to dedicate nearly $2 million in federal stimulus funds to programs that will help Oklahoma victims of domestic violence and sexual assault get back on their feet.
In fact, three members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation — Reps. Mary Fallin, a Republican, and Dan Boren, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe — did essentially that at a recent forum. They complained that more of the stimulus funds should have gone to transportation infrastructure needs, with Inhofe specifically grousing about so much going to "social engineering."
The three make a point. There are strong arguments for massive spending on infrastructure projects that will not only create jobs but also help prop up the economy for decades to come.
But there also are good arguments for building human capital. Women who don't have the wherewithal to escape domestic violence, or who have been incapacitated by sexual assault, would like nothing more than to be safe and self-sufficient, but because of their circumstances, those goals often are elusive.
Officials with three organizations receiving stimulus funds say the grants will go far in helping their clients achieve self-sufficiency.
Tulsa's Domestic Violence Intervention Services will receive $426,335, which will be used for client needs such as late utility bills and car repairs. Improvements to DVIS facilities and client apartments also will be funded.
Earlier in the week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced stimulus grants totaling more than $1.3 million that will go to two Oklahoma Indian tribes. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was awarded $899,999 that will help victims with educational costs, legal assistance and other needs, and the Tonkawa Tribe was awarded $440,200 that will go toward various programs to address violence against tribal members.
These programs don't represent bricks and mortar, but something equally as valuable. "The most vulnerable in our society too often bear the greatest burden in times of economic hardship, which is why dedicating these funds to help survivors and their families get back on their feet is a concrete example of the Recovery Act at work," Holder said.