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Ivey grants more than $60,000 to domestic violence shelter

LANETT – For those affected by domestic violence, a shelter is often a place where individuals can find access to safety in a dangerous situation.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey awarded $397,054 to support organizations assisting victims of abuse in 23 counties in central and east Alabama. A chunk of that money – $64,731 – went to the Domestic Violence Intervention Center which serves Chambers, Lee, Macon, Randolph, Tallapoosa and Russell Counties.

“Domestic violence victims deserve ready access to a variety of professional services and assistance from professional providers,” Ivey said in a news release. “I commend the work of the staff and volunteers of these organizations who work to protect victims and their families every day.”

Tina Evans, executive director of the intervention center, said in a world where budgets seem to be getting smaller for organizations like hers, it’s great to be recognized by the governor.

“The fact that Gov. Ivey recognizes that we are the boots on the ground, and we are in these communities and are trying to serve families who are impacted by domestic violence, that is huge for us,” she said.

Evans said the organization is always looking for a way to stretch a dollar because although the center is funded by several sources, it’s hard to know if those funding levels will remain the same each year.

“The cost of supplying food and renewing services doesn’t go down,” she said. “It continues to go up.”

A significant source of funding for the center is through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Evans said the center does get smaller grants from local sources, which it is thankful for, but those really help to sustain the larger funding sources.

The center provides a 24-hour, seven days a week crisis line with a live person to answer. The center also offers a crisis shelter with those same hours that houses women and children, so part of that funding goes to keep the lights on and pay a person to be available.

The center will also help to find off-site housing for men in a dangerous situation.

Professional counseling is available for families and a case manager that meets with outreach and shelter clients about how to help them get back on their feet and process the trauma occurring in their lives.

Evans said the shelter can provide legal advocates and refer to legal services based on relationships formed in the industry.

Child advocacy services are also available to ensure children who are affected have their needs met during the incident.

Support groups, education and outreach, are also part of what the shelter does to help anybody affected by domestic violence, she said.

The center also works with the Department of Human Resources for a special program called the Special Assessment Interview Liaison (SAIL) program.

This program meets with an individual who comes into the DHR office to sign up for benefits and has been affected by domestic violence. They will talk with those individuals and help them come up with a safety plan and possibly some financial assistance to help them get back on their feet.

When a person comes to the shelter, it is entirely anonymous — that is probably one of the most significant rules at the center, Evans said.

“Confidentially is held in high regard,” she said. “We don’t release anybody’s information.”

In 2017, the center handled 662 crisis calls, served 125 women and children in the shelter, which accounted for 2,262 nights stayed.

Additionally, Evans said the center spent 2,437 hours providing case management hours, 517 outreach hours and 244 counseling hours.

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