Mon, April 22, 2024

SafeHomes Faces Government Funding Cuts, Needs More Local Business Help

A significant decrease in federal funding could force SafeHomes of Augusta to eliminate programs and services for domestic violence victims, unless the local business community steps in to make up the difference.

Aimee Hall, the organization’s Executive Director, said all state nonprofit victim services providers will endure 37 percent cuts in federal funding in October. For SafeHomes, that will mean a $173,000 decrease in funding. In the CSRA, the cuts will also affect Child Enrichment, Inc. and Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services.

“It’s important for the community to know we’re going to get this cut because we need their support,” Hall said.

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SafeHomes offers a variety of services, including a 24-hour crisis hotline, 30-day emergency shelter, and counseling and life skills classes. The nonprofit also offers domestic violence training classes at various businesses, such as ADP.

SafeHomes receives much of its funding from the federal government, specifically the Victims of Crime Act, which was signed into law in 1984 to support state and local services for crime victims. In Georgia, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which provides both funding and programs for these victims, administers these funds. Federal dollars have been cut, and that has trickled down to the state.

To offset the impact of these budget cuts, Hall said the organization will request a portion of the funds Georgia received through the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We’re going to reach out to Gov. Brian Kemp because he has sole discretion over the $4.8 billion in funds,” she said.

“We need people that know our legislators do advocate for us.”

The popular Fake It to Make It event is an important fundraiser for SafeHomes.

In addition to federal funding, SafeHomes also depends on the local business community for financial support. Since its founding in 1979, many businesses have partnered with the nonprofit by volunteering, donating money and sponsoring events. These supporters have included Surrey Center Pharmacy, Jeff’s Sewing & Vacuum, Walker Chiropractic and Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co.

“Some do recurring gifts,” Hall said. “Some pick us as their charity of choice.”

Besides donating money and sponsoring events, Hall said there are other ways businesses can help.

“We’re always looking for volunteers,” she said. “We need in-kind donations.”

Premier Networx, a local-managed IT company, is another corporate partner. Chad Harpley, the company’s President and CEO, personally supports SafeHomes because the nonprofit has helped his friends survive domestic violence situations.

“We started working with SafeHomes when they moved and expanded to their new location,” Harpley said. “When they built their building, we sponsored their IT room and donated products to them.”

Premier Networx supports not only SafeHomes, but also more than 30 other nonprofits. He said the CSRA business community needs to support these organizations.

“Nonprofits in our community are very valuable,” Harpley said. “Without the services of nonprofits, we’re missing out on opportunities to save children and save lives.”

Like Premier Networx, Carole Fabrics also recognizes the value SafeHomes brings to the local community, according to President Frank Andrew. Many abuse survivors helped by the organization now work for the company.

“There are many great nonprofits, but we want to pick ones that support our workforce,” said Andrew, who serves as Vice Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. “I donate some money, as do other current and former employees.”

Carole Fabrics also sponsored Fake It to Make It, a fundraiser for SafeHomes, on Friday, Jan. 28 at the Columbia County Performing Arts Center. The event raised $333,000.

The SafeHomes’ PurseNality Night fundraiser, when attendees can buy raffle tickets to win brand name designer purses, will be held on March 10.

Another popular fundraiser, PurseNality Night, will be held on March 10. The event raises money through purchase of raffle tickets for a chance to win brand-name designer purses donated by local businesses, along with dessert and entertainment by comedian Anita Renfroe. The event is sponsored by 88.3 WAFJ radio, Looper Cabinets and Jeff’s Sewing and Vacuum.

For ticket information and other information about SafeHomes, visit safehomesdv.org or call 706-736-2499.

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