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Cuts loom over domestic violence shelters as government shutdown continues

Updated: Wednesday, October 9 2013, 10:11 PM CDT
Written by: Kyle Rogers

As the federal government shutdown continues, domestic violence victims could be threatened as cuts from funding loom over shelters.

Survivors Inc, based in Gettysburg, is one of several shelters across the nation worrying about closing it's doors after federal funding has stopped coming in through grants.

If the shutdown continues, it could prompt officials to shut its doors to those in need.

Terri Hamrick, President and CEO of Survivor Inc. said she sees first hand the real faces of the federal government shutdown. She told CBS 21 News this week would be the usual time payments come in to the shelter, but she has not seen it.  "I have to say this is one of the biggest nightmares because across the country some shelters and rape crisis programs are starting to have to close their doors."

The center, which is a safe haven for women and children escaping domestic violence as well as serves as a rape crisis program, is operating on an emergency crisis mode. Hamrick said she's ordered a hiring freeze, a cut in non-essential items, and working with a small staff who can not get paid overtime.

Hamrick said closing its door is her biggest fear because it would mean the victim survivors they serve would have to look elsewhere. Some may be forced to return to the home from where they escaped.

"And then they have to return because we ran out of money and couldn't support them?" Hamrick said. "That's unthinkable and it's unacceptable."

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Hamrick said more victims are coming forward and seeking help.

She added it's not the economy that makes sexual assault or domestic violence worse, rather more people are finding help faster.

Currently serving 36 women and children, she fears that if she were forced to close the doors on the shelter, it would be hard to recover.

While Survivors Inc., along South Stratton Street in Gettysburg, can operate for at least a week, any more time from the government impasse could close the shelter after two weeks.

Hamrick said she hopes people will reach out to members of Congress to voice out their concern. She added now is the best time to donate money, non-perishable food, gift cards and gas cards to shelters where victims seek refuge.
Cuts loom over domestic violence shelters as government shutdown continues

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