Michigan domestic violence shelters, resources face financial uncertainty
WEXFORD COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- People nationwide and in northern Michigan are feeling the impacts of the current government shut down, that includes survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Each day advocates at shelters and resource centers provide services to those in need.
The money for those services is typically reimbursed by the federal government, but with the shutdown, that may not be the case.
“This shut down is impacting clients and people that need our service,” said Jesse Guest-Felsk, the program director of OASIS Family Resource Center.
OASIS in Cadillac helps survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
Their advocates there help give survivors shelter, resources they may need, and support and counselling.
Most of those programs and services are paid for through grants, about 15% of that is federal money.
“So, we do the service and then we lets [the federal government] know at the end of the month and then they pay us back,” Guest-Felsk said. “So, there is a chance that we may not be paid back if that money is federally owned money.”
That’s something that could directly impact the domestic and sexual abuse survivors and families.
“Such as, shelter bed nights, home visiting, and staff,” Guest-Felsk said.
Other advocates like the Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City also share concerns.
“If the budget is not passed by January 18th that’s when federal dollars will cease to be available to us,” said Juliet Schultz, the executive director of the Women’s Resource Center.
Schultz says that grant money pays for advocates that provide the services to survivors.
“We want to make sure that we are projecting out and maintaining our cash flow if the government shutdown continues for a long period of time,” Schultz explained. “Frankly we are a non-profit, so at some point we will run out of money that’s just the way it is so we’re really hopefully this shut down is going to end sooner rather than later.”
“We count on that money to keep our doors open,” Guest-Feisk said.
Advocates at OASIS say the total federal money they receive on average is nearly $17,000 a month.
If you or anyone you know is in need of help, call the Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-7233
If you'd like to help there are several events and fundraisers:
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)