OTTUMWA — The Crisis Center and Women's Shelter has been awarded two grants from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation.
The first is a two-year grant totaling $106,000 for the Victim Service Support Project. Monies from this grant will be used to provide tools and resources to support professional advocacy staff in the local communities. This announcement comes quick on the heels of the news that the nearest shelter services will now be provided in Oskaloosa rather than locally.
Officials want to be very clear, though, that this doesn't mean victim services are ending.
"One of the reasons we felt it was important to support the Crisis Center in their work is their determination to focus on developing long-term solutions to housing," said Brad Little, ORLF president and CEO. "Of course emergency shelter services are critical, and those will be provided to victims as needed, whether through a neighboring shelter, hotel or other venue, but assisting victims to create their own personal goals and become self-sufficient is the true end goal."
Crisis Center Executive Director Cheryl Brown agreed.
"The recent changes have been difficult for all of us, but as I reflect on these changes I am energized that we will finally be allowed the resources to dedicate to assisting victims directly and rather than providing temporary emergency shelter services, we will now work to move them as quickly as possible into permanent housing — all the while providing case management and supportive services," she said.
A second grant of $30,000 was awarded for the Family Safety Project, which concentrates specifically on children.
These monies will be utilized to fund a domestic violence advocate position which will work hand-in-hand with the Iowa Department of Human Services. The goal of this project is to avoid placing children in foster care when there is a protective parent available who can work toward keeping his or her child safe.
This advocate will support all aspects of safety planning as well as develop a relationship with children from homes where domestic violence is present to assist them in developing positive coping mechanisms that will help them to avoid the use of violence themselves.
"The support from the community has been overwhelming," Brown said. "Partners like the Legacy Foundation and others have allowed us to reinvent ourselves and although our model for operation might look different, be assured that our mission of supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence has not changed one bit."