State funding 'not enough' for Calcasieu Women's Shelter

State funding 'not enough' for Calcasieu Women's Shelter
(Source: DCFS)
(Source: DCFS)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Each year, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) awards funding to domestic violence shelters in the state.

This year, some $6.2 million has been awarded to 16 Louisiana shelters. But is it enough?

The funding was an increase for shelters across the board. And while shelters say they're happy for the annual grant funding, they say they're still struggling and underfunded from the 2013 mid-year cut, which for the Calcasieu Women's Shelter, saw a $63,000 slash.

"For the 2014-2015 fiscal year, we're going to be receiving a little over $374,000 from DCFS," said Kathy Williams, Executive Director for the Calcasieu Women's Shelter in Lake Charles.

The Calcasieu Women's Shelter is one of 16 domestic violence shelters in the state that's set to receive an annual grant in July.

"It's still a little over $2,000 more than we received last year on the grant," said Williams.

While Williams says they're happy to be receiving an increase, even with it, a budget slash in 2013 has left them with a deficit in funding.

"It's still about $16,000 less than after we had the mid-year budget cuts in January 2013. We suffered about $63,000 being cut mid-year," explained Williams.

Williams says the cuts meant they had to scale back on services as well as staff.

"When you have 33 women and children in the shelter and it's full, you need more than one person on duty but with the funding the way it is, that's just not possible," said Williams.

Because it's a 24-hour operational shelter, most services are delivered by a person, so a lot of the grant funding goes towards employee pay.

"But they also fund the groceries we buy, clothing we may have to purchase, or ID's we may need to get, birth certificates, different items a person coming in may need," added Williams.

While the shelter relies on grant funding to keep it up and running, Williams says the public continues to play a large role as well.

From clothing to food and more, the public steps up when needed.

But Williams says with the expansion going on in our area, the need for services is also increasing, which means, "We have to do everything we possibly can to bring as much money in as possible, because the need is not going down."

Williams says they're in pretty good shape when it comes to donated items like clothing and food, but they continue to rely on fundraiser's and monetary donations from the public which help them tremendously.

Shelter information:

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.