MADISON – The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has closed the application process for the Living Independently Through Financial Empowerment (LIFE) program and will begin distribution of the $14 million of emergency funds allocated to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

The LIFE program received strong interest from domestic violence survivors with over 4,000 applications in process, which fulfills the program funding available. The funds are scheduled to be distributed to approved applicants over the coming weeks.

“The large number of applications for this funding shows how much support is still needed to help domestic abuse survivors gain safety and independence,” said DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson. “While the need is still strong, and there is more work to be done, we hope that these funds help alleviate the financial barrier it takes to initially create a safer home for families.”

DCF created the LIFE program to support families whose safety is at risk and assist them in becoming financially empowered to live independent, violence-free lives. The program provides temporary financial assistance to approved applicants totaling $3,500 over a three-month period ($1,500 in month one and $1,000 in months two and three) which can be used to meet basic needs and seek safety.

“The LIFE program has helped me recover from nearly losing the place I am renting,” said a program recipient. “The landlord agreed to work with me on getting caught up because I have the income from the LIFE program.”

While the application process for the LIFE program is now closed, other assistance is available to help domestic violence survivors, including:

Local Resources

  • End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: Local domestic abuse programs and services, including shelter. Website:
  • Hmong Family Strengthening Helpline: A bilingual (Hmong-English) 24-hour helpline that provides support, contact, and referrals to anyone experiencing violence and abuse. Call 1-877-740-4292 (toll-free).
  • Deaf Unity Helpline: A helpline that assists deaf and hard-of-hearing persons experiencing violence and abuse. Contact by email at or by text at (608) 466-2881. Deaf Unity staff and advocates will respond to your message as soon as possible between the hours of 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Friday. For assistance between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m., contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
  • Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program: Provides rental and utility assistance to eligible applicants. Website:

National Resources

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: A 24-hour, national, toll-free telephone hotline that provides information and assistance to adult and youth victims of family violence, domestic violence, or dating violence, family and household members, and other persons such as domestic violence advocates, government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public. Call 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224 or (206) 518-9361 (Video Phone Only for Deaf Callers).
  • National Dating Abuse Helpline: A 24-hour, national resource specifically designed for teens and young adults, accessible by phone or internet.  The helpline offers real-time, one-on-one support to those involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement and service providers. Call 1-866-331-9474 (toll-free).
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: A comprehensive source of information for those wanting to educate themselves and help others on the many issues related to domestic violence. Website:
  • Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Gender Based Violence: A national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Website:
  • Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community: An organization focused on the unique circumstances of members of the African Diaspora as they face issues related to domestic violence – including intimate partner violence, child abuse, elder maltreatment, and community violence. Website:
  • National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities: The national institute on domestic violence focusing on Latin@ communities. Website:

To learn more about domestic violence, visit DCF’s website or follow @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.

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