LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Lafayette’s shelter for victims of domestic abuse opened in 1985. The need for room in the shelter is growing, but also the understanding of what a victim goes through is growing.
So, YWCA Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention Program director Jasmine Dowd said the shelter is looking to expand.
“Knowing what we know now and how much things have changed over the years, we’re really looking to expand to fit the needs and give the women and children and people of domestic violence situations the respect they need in terms of moving forward,” Dowd said.
As the need goes up, the funding is going down.
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence executive director Laura Berry said last fiscal session the state budgeted $3.5 million for the domestic abuse program. That’s about $700,000 more than the last budget.
However, right off the bat 10 percent was given back to the state for surplus. Then, Berry said on Monday she found out the state is asking for another 20 percent or more than $800,000 dollars back to balance the budget.
“That amount of money alone would support the full operation of four 24-hour shelters,” Berry said.
As more funding is cut, Berry said shelters will eventually start closing. She sees the rural communities taking the hit first.
“So we’re going to have to count on programs, for example in Lafayette, that could take on all of the work just north of them in the rural communities,” Berry said. “Their service area would expand with no more money or no more bed space.”
Berry said the state is already in crisis mode when it comes to providing beds to victims and keeping employees.