Last updated: March 07. 2014 5:55PM - 1098 Views
By Emily Jarrett ejarrett@civitasmedia.com

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For the first time since 1988, Citizens Against Spouse Abuse Inc. will lose its Emergency Solutions Grant funding, after federal and state cuts to domestic violence programs go into effect April 1.

The cuts equal to approximately $50,000, leaving CASA’s budget in the red and uncertainty about its future funding. Executive Director Lori Haney said ESG is the only grant the not-for-profit receives that relates directly to shelter services, noting last year 223 women and 209 children were housed at the shelter.

“ESG helps fund things such as facility maintenance, fuel costs for our CASA vehicles, equipment costs, utilities, hotel and motel placement for survivors,” she said. “It also directly impact clients, we use those funds to pay for employment assistance, which could be anything from this client needs to pay for a work uniform to another client needing new shoes.”

The grant also funds medical and prescription drug co-pay assistance and contracted therapy services for children victims of abuse, as well as portions of case management salaries.

ESG funding is provided by the Missouri Department of Social Services through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last month it was announced cuts of nearly $750,000 to domestic violence shelters would take effect, prompting shelter managers and domestic violence programs to scramble to find funding solutions.

“It’s a significant loss for us. I’ve already submitted a new budget to our board that makes up for the loss for this grant cycle and fortunately we have reserves that will help, but that’s sustainable,” Haney said. “We have started applying for private foundation grants but it’s likely if we’re awarded them, we won’t see those funds until 2015.”

Foundation grants are also extremely competitive, Haney noted, and often only allow for one year of support. Several future fundraisers are in the works and those wishing to donate privately may take advantage of a 50 percent tax credit if they donate $100 or more, but those are Band-Aid solutions to the larger funding problem.

Friday afternoon Gov. Jay Nixon announced he is planning to seek about $500,000 to replace the ESG cuts, as part of a push to recoup $1.3 million in grant funding cuts to domestic and homeless shelters across the state. According to a release from the governor’s office, the Missouri Housing Development Commission will meet Friday to finalize a plan to restore the funds.

“Missouri’s network of shelters provides safe haven for thousands of domestic violence survivors, as well as provide housing solutions for the homeless in both rural and urban communities across the state,” Nixon said in a statement. “We will take the steps necessary to ensure that funding to the shelters is not reduced, even in the face of these federal cuts.”

In the meantime, Haney and her staff are continuing to monitor CASA’s budget.

“Domestic violence remains the most under-reported crime in the country, we know that one in three women will be sexually abused by the time they’re 18,” Haney said. “It’s difficult to make sure our survivors needs are being met when we’re facing this financial hardship.”

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