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— By BRADLY GILL

Staff writer

The Women’s Crisis Center of South Arkansas is seeking help from the public due to its primary source of funding being cut off during the ongoing government shutdown.

WCC Executive Director Elizabeth Wesley says about 80 percent of the shelters funding comes from reimbursements from the federal government.

Until the shutdown is resolved, things like payroll and utility expenses must come from a reserve fund.

Typically, centers will tally up expenses at the end of the month and submit a report to the federal government. The centers are then paid back with federal funds.

“All of the shelters got an email on December 24th from the Department of Finance and Administration telling us that the government was currently under shutdown, but that we could submit our reimbursements January 2 and January 4,” said Wesley.

“Well, we all submitted our invoices and we were told that there was still maybe a few people there processing invoices. We’ve been calling, We haven’t gotten any answer. As far as we know, everyone has been sent home.”

Without a way to compensate for December’s expenditures, the shelter is dipping into a reserve fund that was never supposed to solely support its operating budget. Wesley said she hopes what money is in reserve will last at least to the middle of February.

“Right now we’re operating on what little bit of community funds we do make… We’re hoping we don’t have to lay anybody off,” Wesley said.

She added that five to six women currently reside in the shelter. If the center closes its doors, the women will have to find somewhere else to stay.

“We’re hoping we don’t have to relocate them, but if we can’t keep our staff on, we may have to find somewhere else for our clients to go,” Wesley stated.

Wesley said nine staff members are employed by the center.

“I’m hoping that the community can step up and help with anything financial they can help with,” Wesley shared.

She also said that donations can be made directly to the center of through P.O. Box at 1149, Camden, AR 71711. The office number of the center is 836-0375.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime.

An estimated three women a day are killed by their boyfriends, husbands and exes.

According to the domesticshelters.org website:

• 3.3 Million: Estimated number of children in the U.S. each year that witness violence against their mother or female caretaker by a family member.

• 40-60: Percentage of men who abuse women who also abuse children.

• 1 in 5: Number of teenage girls who said they have been in a relationship where the boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if a breakup was to occur.

• 85: Percentage of domestic violence victims who are women.

• 175,000: Number of workdays American employees miss each year on account of domestic violence.

• 40-70: Percentage of female murder victims in the U.S. who were killed by their husbands or boyfriends, often within an ongoing abusive relationship.

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