The Ottumwa Courier


March 22, 2013

Shelters ask for 5 percent increase in state funding


AGENCY — High-stress, low pay

The shelter’s 17 staff rotate between three shifts with two people generally working the overnight shift.

“Each year, insurance costs go up, we have to pay for property damage, get more sophisticated computer equipment and train staff,” Boxx-Vass said.

Allowable growth should be considered for shelters, she said.

“Our expenses keep going up,” she said. “And we have to keep quality, trained staff, who are committed and are highly educated. If we’re paying them a dollar or two above what they’d make in fast food ... wow.”

A bright future is possible

Many of the children are now “shining examples” that your “past doesn’t have to dictate where you're going,” Boxx-Vass said. A 13-year-old that watches a 20-year-old who used to be at the shelter graduate from high school and go to college can have hope for his or her own future.

“We’re with them around the clock,” Davidson said. “We know their needs.”

The community has rallied around the shelter, they said. They’ve seen an outpouring of gifts and donations from businesses, churches and individuals.

“First Presbyterian wanted a list from each kid [for Christmas],” Boxx-Vass said. “They didn’t want to give them generic gifts.”

Everyone at the shelter is thankful, she said, because money for things such as gifts and trips to the movies or restaurants just are not in the budget anymore.

“What would happen to these kids if we don’t have the shelter beds?” Davidson said. “We’re full now,  and we’re still getting calls.”

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