The Duncan Banner

March 10, 2013

Women’s Haven impacted by funding cuts

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN —  

Several state grants received by Women’s Haven have taken 5 percent cuts and more cuts could be on the way.
Teresa Biffle, Women’s Haven director, said the grant and funding cuts are a result of sequestration, which cuts funding to government agencies. As a result of these cuts, grants available through government entities will also see an impact.
“It’s already trickling down,” Biffle said. “One of my state grants, I’m being cut in July. It’s going to be delayed for two months. That’s two salaries. We will have to find a way to get money for those.”
One of the grants being cut is the Victims of Violent Crimes Act, which is where funding for those two salaried positions comes from.
Another grant, Violence Against Women Act, hasn’t been cut, but Biffle is concerned it might be. This helps pay for the Women’s Haven court advocate position.
The Violence Against Women’s Act has been re-authorized for Women’s Haven, something Biffle is grateful for. But she is anxious to see how the non-profit organization will be affected by sequestration cuts.
“Every position I have at my agency is going to be cut 5 percent,” Biffle said. “I will look to see what I can do for those salaries. We will do everything in regard to keeping the same services available.”
Thursday night, Biffle received an email about a major grant from the Attorney General’s Office. The email specified the grant would be cut by 5 percent immediately. This grant is where three salaried positions come from.
In all, Biffle only has six employees.
“I don’t know if I’ll have to lay off a worker,” Biffle said. “We’re already short a worker. We may not be able to replace a worker.”
Biffle said Women’s Haven may start applying for grants through various foundations. But she expressed concern about timeliness. She said obtaining grants through foundations could take up to six months to find out if the agency has receive funding.
“There’s not anything out there that has a fast turnaround,” Biffle said.
Despite of the funding set backs, Biffle said the agency will continue to offer service 24/7. She said she is concerned about how things will work out, and admitted to things being “scary at this time.”
She said services will continue, and she acknowledged the importance of community support for everything Women’s Haven has been able to do to this point.
“We wouldn’t be able to do it without community support,” Biffle said.