October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but domestic violence shelters across the Carolinas may have to cut services they provide to their clients due to the federal government shutdown.
Shelters like the Pilgrims' Inn in Rock Hill provide services including counseling and housing to victims of domestic violence, but those services may be cut soon and victims may have nowhere to turn.
As congress and the president wrangle over the federal spending bill and the government shutdown continues, domestic violence programs and the victims they serve now have something new to worry about… closed doors.
Programs across the Carolinas may not be able to access their federal funds and may have to cut staff, reduce services, and serve even fewer victims in crisis.
"It's unfortunate that they forget that these services are necessary, that those funding opportunities are necessary to supply those needs," said Pilgrims' Inn Director Juanita Lester.
They're not alone.
Safe Alliance in Charlotte relies on federal funds to pay for services for victims including their crisis hotline team.
"Sometimes, we have women that call us and say ‘if I don't leave tonight, I think I can be killed.' So, if we don't have a place for them to go and we don't have someone answering those crisis lines then it really could be a life or death situation for someone," said Safe Alliance Chief Advancement Officer Karen Parker.
Advocates say the required, across-the-board cuts in federal funding have already taken a serious toll on victim service providers and the continued shutdown will only make a crisis for women in need worse.
"We know if victims reach out multiple times and they don't get assistance, they'll stop reaching out and we don't want people to feel like there isn't help out there," said Parker.
Leaders of both organizations say they'll be fully functional for the next couple of weeks, but after that, it's uncertain.
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