Domestic Violence Shelters Soon Closing Doors Amid Government Shutdown

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Last week we brought you up-to-date information on how the government shutdown is taking away funding for domestic violence shelters around Arkansas. 

Now, some are closing, and others are looking where they can turn to keep their doors open.

“Essentially they only have as long to operate as they have funds in their account to cover,” said Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director, Beth Goodrich.

The government shutdown continues into week two and domestic violence shelters are fighting to find funding from other sources.

“We accrue expenses over time, and then we submit the receipts and time sheets to the government and get reimbursements.  So when the government is shut down we can’t submit for reimbursement,” said Peace At Home Shelter of Northwest Arkansas Development Director, Eva Terry.

That agency gets almost half of its funding from government reimbursement program. 

Unable to access these funds for much longer could cause it to suspend services bringing a lot of uncertainty for survivors.

“It really becomes life and death for them because where do they go? A lot of survivors might decide to return to an abusive partner at that time,” said Goodrich.

“How are they going to survive, or eat, or take the kids to school next week? It’s a really bad situation that nobody wants to be in danger right now,” said Peace At Home Advocate, Daniela Fernandez.

Terry said they must rely on donations and help from the community.

“We have to pull from reserve funds in order to cover those costs, and it’s not something we can do forever. Those different diversified sources help,” she said.

Goodrich said no matter the size of the shelter, everyone must look at what funds they still have and their plan for the victims and survivors. 

“We’re a rural state, we have many programs that receive a majority of their funding through this funding stream. We’re working with programs to figure out at what point do they lay people off, at what point do they close their doors. Everybody’s planning for that now,” said Goodrich.

The Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter said it does not have to rely as heavily on government funding, so it will continue to run smoothly.

The Peace at Home Shelter is continuing all services as of now.

For more information on shelters around the state that are closing, click here.

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