Federal cuts forcing YCC to turn away victims of domestic violence, sex assault

Mar 9 2013 - 7:12am


OGDEN -- The ripple effects from federal sequestration are swamping the operating budget of Your Community Connection, forcing the service center to turn away potential victims of abuse.

The federal across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, have reduced the YCC's 2012-13 fiscal year operating budget by about $79,000. The YCC's annual operating budget is approximately $1.2 million, but demand for services for abuse victims is up, said YCC Director Julee Smith.

Two federal grants the YCC depends on -- the Victims of Crime Act grant and the Violence Against Women Act grant -- were reduced by sequestration, she said.

"We have been receiving (those grants) for years. We're not just a domestic violence shelter, but also a rape crisis center."

The YCC's Domestic Violence Victims Assistance Center, which also provides assistance to sexual assault victims, this year has experienced a 23 percent reduction in its federal funding, including the bulk of the funding those two specific programs receive, said Tallie Viteri, DVVAC manager.

Viteri declined to reveal the exact grant amounts.

Those two grants, along with other federal dollars passed through the state to the organization, have served as the real backbone for funding YCC's operations, Smith said.

Raising further concern, she said, is this year's sequestration may not be the last.

"They have already said next year there will be another cut."

The sequestration is aimed at trimming $85 billion in federal spending.

"We need to be able to keep going and doing," Smith said of the YCC.

Over the course of the 2011-12 fiscal year, the YCC provided 455 overnight stays to victims of abuse in its 26-bed shelter, Smith said.

The YCC also provides a child care center, outreach bullying counseling, senior life care, transitional housing for families moving out of a potential domestic situation, and food and clothing vouchers for the homeless.

"We turned away 150 people last year," Smith said. "That is why we have got to expand. The economy is bad, domestic violence is up. The demand for services is up and funding is down.

"We look to the state, hoping that they will pick up some of the slack."

But that hope suffered a setback when the Utah Legislature this week failed to approve a one-time $145,000 request to help YCC with expansion.

"It is like we are clear down this list," Smith said. "Somehow, some way, we need to have the (shelter) beds."

The YCC provides services to both Weber and Morgan counties, and serves a population of about 245,000 people, Smith said.

The YCC is accepting any type of donations, she said.


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