November 23, 2014

Domestic violence and sexual assault services system undergoing overhaul

Iowa’s system of services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is undergoing a major overhaul to address state and federal budget cuts. By dividing the state into six regions, each with a shelter, officials with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence hope to save money and serve more people with non-shelter based services.

That includes help in finding housing, counseling, and hiring advocates who work with clients in the communities where they live. But it also means 10 shelters will not receive state funding. One of those is the Clinton YWCA. Executive Director Lori Freudenberg says their board chose not to apply for the funding to become a regional shelter because the requirements were too difficult to meet.

“The expectations were for a program, such as Davenport, to still provide all the services throughout our entire region — which goes from Keokuk at the south end, Clinton at the north end, and Iowa City at the west end. We just felt a program our size wasn’t going to be able to do that with the amount of funding that was going to be provided,” Freudenberg said.

The Clinton YWCA is counting on fundraising to make up for the roughly 80% cut from the state. “We wanted to be a good partner for Davenport, who was going apply for the domestic violence program, and Iowa City for the sexual assault program, so we are working to raise $100,000 to sustain our programs, yet subcontract with others to keep those services local,” Freudenberg said.

Clients of the Clinton YWCA should not see any changes in the next year, according to Freudenberg. The funding amounts will be finalized in late June.