Government shutdown could affect local Emergency Safe House

Government shutdown could affect local Emergency Safe House
Government shutdown could affect local Emergency Safe House (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - If the government shutdown continues any longer, it could cause a ripple effect on one nonprofit that provides a domestic violence shelter in Amarillo.

Across the nation, shelters are closing due to the government shutdown.

Government shutdown could affect local Emergency Safe House

If the shutdown lasts until March 1, nonprofit agencies, such as Family Support Services, would lose a large amount of funding that goes towards helping victims at their domestic violence Emergency Safe House.

“We rely on federal grants to operate our Emergency Safe House,” said Family Support Services CEO Jim Womack. “About 35 to 40 percent of our budget related to our agency, in some way or another, would be affected by the federal shutdown because it needs grant funds. The grant funds will still be there, but the staff at the federal level who processes those requests would not be there so there’s no way to access those funds.”

If there are no government workers to process the grant funds, it could bring job losses at the safe house.

“Since we’re not getting reimbursed, we will start having to furlough workers,” said Womack. “[We would] stop providing rental assistance, and it’ll affect us in many different ways and affect our clients in a lot of different ways.”

With no grants coming in, Family Support Services would then have to reach out to the community for help.

“We always look for different funding streams, so right now, we would probably have to ask for help from our community to continue to provide these life-saving services,” said Womack.

The Emergency Safe House currently lacks the staff needed to help domestic violence victims, so losing any employees would be crucial.

“The less staff we have, the harder that gets,” said Safe House Manager Ronnie Brockett. “We serve a lot of people here in the Panhandle. The agency itself serves thousands of people a year, but the shelter, we’re consistently full. Whether it’s the hotline or the shelter, these services are so important. We have one of the highest rates of domestic violence per capita across the nation and so these services are huge."

Although the Family Support Services Emergency Safe House has not yet been affected by the government shutdown, it could be a matter of time.

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