Domestic violence nonprofit suffers cutbacks during shutdown

NEW CITY, New York (WABC) -- 7 On Your Side visited a local group that helps children and families who are victims of abuse. Fifty full-time employees had their salaries cut in half.

The employees will continue to struggle to feed and house their own families for many more months because, unlike furloughed government employees, as contract workers, they won't get back pay.

The donations of food for families staying in their emergency shelter are open to employees of the Center for Safety and Change, a 'shutdown sharing.'

The nonprofit's director, Elizabeth Santiago, broke down talking about her staffers who serve sexually abused children and survivors of domestic violence in Rockland County.

"We have great people who are resilient, and work really, really hard. And they live paycheck to paycheck. And here we are furloughing people because we don't know when we are getting our money," she said.

The Center for Safety and Change in New City gets their funding from a federal grant, through HUD that has been shutdown since December. The center only gets their grant money after the work is done.

However, with no money coming in, the center had to furlough employees. With fewer employees working, the center can't bill HUD, a one-two gut punch to the non-profit.

Since the shutdown, four full-time positions were eliminated. To save additional jobs, 50 workers had to be furloughed to part-time.

The Center provides meals, counseling, legal help and shelter to 300 families in crisis a year. It won't recover from the cuts to the services because they can't recoup those grant funds.

Employees continue to work even with reduced pay, by packing up care kits for human trafficking victims and visiting the food pantry for themselves.

An anonymous angel was then motivated to make a donation to help Center for Safety and Change employees.

The center's fundraising goal is to raise $100,000. They got even more good news from a generous supporter who saw their need, donating $5,000 toward that goal. A second donor pledged to match every dollar raised effectively turning $100,000 into $200,000. That will cover some of the payroll for these contract workers.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Center for Safety and Change.


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