Budget Cuts To Close Domestic Violence Shelters? - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Budget Cuts To Close Domestic Violence Shelters?

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The state of Iowa is cutting over one million dollars in funding for programs assisting domestic violence and sexual assault victims. In the QCA, shelters serving Davenport, Clinton, Muscatine, Burlington, Keokuk, and Iowa City will now have to share fewer funds and services.  

So shelters are scrambling to raise money to help keep the doors open locally for victims.

The clock is ticking for Clinton YWCA to raise $100,000 needed to keep the domestic violence shelter and services running. If they don't meet that goal, the responsibility to care for victims here could fall onto local communities instead.  

"The burden of taking care of the victims is going to fall on the police department, on the court system, on the hospitals," YWCA Executive Director Lori Freudenberg says.

The Clinton Police Department gets between 8 and 12 domestic disturbance calls a day. 

Without the help of the YWCA taking victims in, officers may have to use more resources to help victims on their own.  

"They're going to have to transport these women to the nearest shelter which probably at this time is going to be Davenport," Freudenberg says. 

Last year, the YWCA helped over 800 women and children in need, 800 women and children who will have to go somewhere else if this shelter closes. 

Police say they may have to work out a transport agreement with other agencies if that happens. With the department already facing staffing cuts, the greater responsibility would stretch resources. 

"The expense of not only a police officer to use his time to travel back and forth but the gas and the transportation," Freudenberg says. 

Others will have to take on the burden too. 

"We also wrote last year over 200 protective orders, so if we're not here to do that, that's going to fall on the court system to have to do that," Freudenberg says. 

So far, the organization has gone to local churches, city councils, and county boards to request funds. 

Clinton County, the city of Camanche, and others have pledged to help.

"They see the importance of these services and there's so many people touched by domestic violence and sexual assault, it is just an epidemic," Freudenberg says.

But they still have a lot of work to do. 

"This is an area we cannot afford to lose, it's going to affect all of us," Freudenberg says.

The YWCA staff hopes to raise the money by March. That's when the YWCA board will meet to decide what needs to be cut if they don't reach their goal.

The YWCA still needs your help, you can send monetary donations and other home goods for the shelter to:

YWCA, Clinton 
317 7th Avenue South 
Clinton, Iowa 52732.

The shelter is in need of clothing, grocery store gift certificates, frozen meals, and more. You can find a list of items they need here: http://www.ywcaclinton.org/crisis-center.html

You can also contribute online here: http://www.ywcaclinton.org/mission-donate.html

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