Organization Director Pledges Retirement Funds to Help Domestic Violence Victims Afford Homes
A Charlottesville organization that works to help domestic violence victims now has some extra grant funding available.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville organization that works to help domestic violence victims now has some extra grant funding available.
The Alliance for Interfaith Ministries now has $15,000 available to help survivors make down payments on apartments.
Kimberly Fontaine is the director of AIM and lives in Augusta County. She says this new fund and the issue of domestic violence are close to her heart because she’s survived domestic abuse herself.
For Fontaine, life is much simpler on the farm. She wakes up every morning to the sight of the sunrise and horses grazing in the fields.
But her path getting there wasn't easy.
A violent incident occurred with her boyfriend at the time, Greg Pawloski, in front of her daughter, Rachel, who is now a student at the University of Tennessee.
“The night that I tried to end our relationship, we were wrestling for a handgun and there was no doubt in my mind what he was going to do with it,” says Fontaine.
Unfortunately, Fontaine says Pawloski’s next partner wasn't so lucky and says she was killed in a murder-suicide.
"As was later proved that he had the propensity to do that, when he murdered his wife and then took his own life," says Fontaine.
Then Fontaine met Stew, and the two eventually got married and moved to Augusta County in 2017.
“I prayed and said, ‘you know, God, I will only date if you send me a godly man,’ and I really wasn't ready when he showed up,” says Fontaine.
The couple's move to Augusta County is when she began working for AIM.
“It was really divine intervention, there’s no doubt about it, we both applied for one job,” says Fontaine. “AIM is really the perfect place for me.”
AIM's new fund, called the Fresh Start Fund, has $15,000 available to help domestic violence survivors afford security deposits.
"I think that having the opportunity to be somewhere safe, without having to rely on an abuser, because, economically, most victims of domestic violence are dependent upon an abuser for a home," says Fontaine.
Fontaine started the fund by pledging $5,000 from her retirement fund and is now hoping to use the money and her past to help others.
“The flipside of tragedy is that you have an opportunity to become empowered by making a difference,” says Fontaine.
And it doesn't stop there. The fund is a revolving fund where landlords agree to give back the security deposits to AIM at the end of the client’s lease so that they may then help another survivor.
The fund can help victims up to $500 per person, and will go to men and women in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.