Thursday, July 30, 2009
Today could spell the end of operations for Domestic Violence Service Center (DVSC) of Salinas.
DVSC, an advocacy organization that provides temporary housing and legal counsel to women and their children escaping domestic violence, is a satellite member of Shelter Outreach Plus (SOP), the county’s largest provider of services for the homeless and victims of domestic violence.
As part of California’s budget plan, all state funding to public domestic violence services has been cut. The annual $200,000 grant that comes to DVSC, which completely funds the organization, is gone. SOP’s Board of Directors is meeting this afternoon to determine where to from here.
“My guess is that it’s going to close,” said Carol Brenner, a SOP board member. “If the private sector doesn’t step forward, than they’re not going to be able to stay open.”
Rita Harvey, development manager of SOP, said that all domestic violence service providers are losing $200,000, such as Monterey County’s YWCA.
“There won’t be any domestic violence shelters in the county,” she said. “It happened so quickly and so devastatingly, it’s really a crisis.”
DVSC currently houses 25 individuals and has a waiting list. Two attorneys provide legal counsel to the women, including drafting temporary restraining orders.
One option to avoid complete termination of DVSC’s services is to transfer some services to another organization. However, Brenner said that all public service providers are feeling a tremendous strain as the government continues retracting financial support and private donations run dry.
“When this whole economy thing hit, people lost money, they took a hit,” Brenner said. “But the people that are suffering the most right now are the people seeking their most basic needs, especially when there’s children involved.”