Crisis Line & Safe House of Central Georgia Needs Donations To Remain Open During Federal Shutdown
Crisis Line & Safe House of Central Georgia needs donations to remain open during federal shutdown
The federal government shutdown is exacerbating an already critical funding shortage experienced by Crisis Line & Safe House of Central Georgia due to a slowdown in federal grant reimbursements. Without a surge in donations, the non-profit may be forced to reduce services provided to sexual assault and domestic violence victims.
Crisis Line & Safe House has a diverse funding stream that includes a combination of federal and state grants along with private donations.
More than $330,000 in federal grant reimbursements are outstanding dating back to early October.
The U.S. Department of Justice, the federal agency that administers the grants, is expected to close Friday and remain closed until the shutdown ends. Any grant funds not dispersed by Friday aren’t expected to be received until after the government reopens.
“We depend on these grant funds to pay our payroll, rent and other expenses,” said Crisis Line & Safe House Executive Director Dee Simms. “Without the reimbursements or another influx of cash, we’re going to have to start cutting programs and furloughing staff.”
Crisis Line & Safe House has already drawn $100,000 from a line of credit to fund payroll and other essential operating expenses.
Services at risk of being suspended include the legal advocacy and counseling programs. The legal advocacy program serves more than 600 domestic violence victims annually, assisting victims in petitioning for temporary protective court orders to help them escape their abusers. Additional legal services provided by two in-house lawyers also could be suspended. Since October, the lawyers have opened 53 cases helping victims with additional legal issues such as divorce, child custody or housing and financial issues.
“Without the continued support of our lawyers and legal advocacy staff, many of our clients will be without legal representation and unable to leave a violent domestic situation,” Simms said.
Sexual assault examination sites in Macon and Warner Robins will remain open, but without the aid of victim advocates. Specialized nurses who contract with Crisis Line & Safe House perform an estimated 140 exams annually for victims who don’t need emergency medical care. In addition to offering support, advocates provide information about the legal system and additional services available to victims.
The organization’s shelter, which is already operating at full capacity, is expected to remain open.
Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke has pledged to match any donations raised by Feb. 14 up to $25,000 in addition to a separate donation from his office.
“Crisis Line & Safe House provides essential services to many of our community’s most vulnerable crime victims. These victims don’t need to be further victimized by a loss of services due to the government shutdown,” Cooke said.
To donate, visit cl-sh.org or call 745-9292.