Virginia, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Range Women's Advocates has been helping victims of domestic violence in northern St. Louis County for over 30 years. However, the fate of their services is now in jeopardy due to funding cuts of about $500,000 over the span of five years.
"Our state funds for our basic crime victim services has not been renewed," said Executive Director, Pat Dunlavy.
The agency operates on a budget of about $300,000 a year. The cuts will take away about $100,000 in funding each year for the next five years, meaning that in order to survive the agency will have to cut programs.
"We'll probably have to stop doing court advocacy which is a huge need," said Dunlavy.
The agency says they were told the loss in funding is due to less money being available at the state level and difficult past leadership.
"We had some very challenging times with poor leadership and we have basically recovered from that, but that's not necessarily recognized by this particular funding," said Dunlavy.
Range Women's Advocates hopes to gain enough money so they won't have to cut programs. They've been reaching out to other agencies and past donors for help.
Vanessa Wildes, a former victim, now works for Range Women's Advocates. She knows firsthand the agency's programs are critical in the community.
"Just having them walk through the steps of court and a custody battle, I just don't know if I would have the strength to do it without them," Wildes said.
"We're here basically because we believe so strongly in the need to support people who are victims," said Dunlavy.
If you'd like to help Range Women's Advocates, you can contact them at 1-800-343-5054.
Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.