Fifteen of Missouri’s domestic violence shelters that had learned they were turned down for a grant that typically provided each of them between $20-thousand and $50-thousand will be getting funding from a different source. Those grants in past years went to pay for utilities, transportation, food and other basic needs.
Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) tells Missourinet that when he and other lawmakers called the Nixon Administration’s attention to the situation, it acted quickly to find another source of funds for those shelters.
“There’s a section in [the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program],” Kelly tells Missourinet, “which would allow for money to be used for domestic violence purposes, and they determined that they could use this money to replace this.”
Kelly isn’t sure how much money is available for those shelters or how it will be distributed to them. Applications for more than $724,000 in shelter funds had been rejected. At the time this story was written, an Office of Administration Public Relations Officer was still attempting to gather information requested by Missourinet.
That grant, the Emergency Solutions Grant, was for the second year being administered by the Missouri House Development Commission. The Director of Moss House in Nevada, Martha Sander, says MHDC has told those shelters whose applications were rejected they have been put on a list to receive their evaluations, and otherwise they have not yet been told why they were not approved. The Commission’s Public Information Administrator, Brian Vollenweider, tells Missourinet the records regarding individual shelters’ applications remain closed.
Kelly says the rejections were the result of a “rule interpretation” by the Commission. He says he and other lawmakers will be investigating what happened.
“We’ll have to go from here,” says Kelly. “We’ll talk and figure out a more permanent solution.”
Kelly, who has been a vocal critic of the Nixon Administration in some instances, has high praise for it in this situation.
“As soon as they did learn about it they fixed it,” says Kelly. “Both the state representatives in the effected communities … were on the job and the administration responded very quickly.”
Vollenwider says the Commission had more than $3.2 million to distribute in the 2013 grant cycle and that was down to more than $1.6-million in the 2014 cycle.
The shelters whose applications had been rejected are in Cape Girardeau, Clinton, Harrisonville, Lebanon, Moberly, Bolivar, Doniphan, Sedalia, Sikeston, Lexington, Nevada, Parkville, Portageville and one each in St. Louis and Kansas City. A shelter in Springfield had an application for shelter funds rejected, but was approved for other ESG grant money.
The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says shelters in Missouri gave more than 10,000 adults, youth and children shelter in 2012. Shelters also provide crisis intervention, assist individuals seeking orders of protection, offer therapy and support services and other assistance.