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Fed shutdown begins to hurt domestic violence shelters

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Like many domestic violence shelters, Bradley Angle receives federal funding through the Violence Against Women Act.

Since the partial shutdown of the federal government began 24 days ago — now the longest in US history — it’s blocking their ability to receive federal funds from HUD for their transitional housing services.

“The level of uncertainty has really been present as soon as the shutdown began,” said Rebecca Nickels, the interim executive director for Bradley Angle.

They also have technical assistance questions about their federal funding, but those questions are falling on deaf ears. That’s because the US Department of Justice employees who assist with distributing those dollars are furloughed during the shutdown.

Rebecca Nickels, the interim executive director of Bradley Angle domestic violence shelter in Portland, January 14, 2019 (KOIN)

“So we’re really relying on what we know or what we can read in our handbooks, but we have no one to really ask specific questions to,” Nickels said. “There probably will be consequences down the line — because we can’t invoice for this one funding source, we have to cover those costs right away.”

Depending on how long the shutdown continues, covering costs won’t be possible.

“Since we are drawing from other sources to cover those costs, those other sources then become more vulnerable,” she told KOIN 6 News.

These financial hits are being felt across shelters in Oregon.

“I know that the shutdown is impacting rural communities in a more dramatic way,” she said.

Domestic violence shelters are worried about how the shutdown will hinder their ability to pay bills and serve the most vulnerable. With neither side in Congress budging, Nickels said she doesn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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