VIA WASHINGTON POST:
The largest District nonprofit organization serving victims of domestic violence has lost nearly $500,000 in city funding, leaving it scrambling for new sources of money for its programs.
Christel Nichols, president of the House of Ruth, said she received an e-mail Monday alerting her that the agency would not get nearly half a million dollars in anticipated funding from the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, which lost money when the city’s Department of Human Services budget was reduced. The cuts take effect Thursday.
“This is the worst I’ve ever experienced” in 16 years at the agency, she said. “This is the absolute worst. Even in the darkest days with the control board and the city [budget] being a disaster, we never faced anything to this degree.”
Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE), the city’s second-largest nonprofit organization for victims of domestic abuse, fared better Wednesday, receiving an eleventh-hour reprieve from closure.
A last-minute fundraising campaign, SaveWEAVE.org, was launched 10 days after the group’s board of directors voted Sept. 9 to begin shutting down the organization and warned its 25 employees that they were unlikely to keep their jobs. Like many nonprofit organizations, which were shaky financially even before they were hammered by a weak economy, WEAVE spent much of its reserves and was struggling to survive.
Between SaveWEAVE.org and other supporters, they quickly raised more than $300,000 and helped persuade donors to keep talking about ways to save the legal, counseling and other services it provides. On Wednesday, the board voted to keep WEAVE open.
House of Ruth has offered to take on any counseling clients that WEAVE cannot continue to help. Its funding for counseling remained unchanged this year.
Another agency, Calvary Women’s Services, will lose nearly $75,000 from the Community Partnership for housing and services that it provides to about 150 homeless women a year.
City officials have been trying to ensure that important services continue as they work to close a $150 million budget gap. In a statement, Neil O. Albert, the city administrator, said the District’s Office of Victim Services will have no decrease in services or staff this year.