Domestic Violence Shelters Denied State Grant Funding

By Chris Eidson

Published 03/04 2014 08:45PM

Updated 03/04 2014 10:29PM

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- At least 15 Missouri domestic violence shelters have been turned down for state grant money.

The Emergency Solutions Grant, or ESG, provides up to $50,000 toward each shelter's annual budget.

When women and children in Polk County need help escaping domestic violence, they turn to the House of Hope.

"Last year we provided over 7000 safe bed nights," Executive Director Danielle Conti said.

She said the emergency shelter is often the only place for these families to turn.

"For us that means that was 7000 nights that somebody was able to go asleep and not be afraid and that to me is priceless," she said.

The help may be priceless, but the shelter needs funding to keep its doors open.

A thrift store in Bolivar helps raise some money, but the majority of funding comes from grants, like ESG.

"It helps us cover operational things like utilities, groceries, the hotline phone," she said.

This year Conti requested $50,000, about ten percent of the shelter's operating budget.

But her request has been denied.

That means staff reductions and other cutbacks are on the horizon.

"And we're concerned about it," she said.

Legislators and the governor are trying to find a way to make up for the loss.

"We already did receive word that they're at least looking at it and that the governor and the legislators are kind of figuring out where can we pull some funding to kind of make up for this," she said.

But the new budget begins April 1, so Conti hopes for swift action in finding new funding.

There is some uncertainty about why the fifteen rural shelters had their requests denied in the first place.

Many local legislators said they will be investigating the situation.

In the meantime, any donations to the shelters are greatly appreciated.

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