Domestic violence shelter makes appeal for help

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2012

Officials with the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Shelter are asking for the community to send them a lifeline — a financial one — before an already dire situation becomes much worse.

Director Elaine Payne said the shelter operates on an annual budget of roughly $65,000, which equates to $5,400 a month. Payne said, although it might sound like a generous amount, in reality, it isn’t when you are trying to help people in dire circumstances with a multitude of problems.

“Out of that we have to pay property taxes, utilities, salaries, office supplies, food and transportation costs for clients and miscellaneous expenses,” she said.

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While the Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides the bulk of the funding, the local shelter is still required to have a 25 percent match, or a minimum of $1,250 monthly from the community to maintain that state income.

Payne said local contributions have been so low lately some employees have gone without a paycheck just to keep the doors open for domestic abuse victims, some of which are children.

Making matters worse, the state’s allocations are always a month or more behind, making already tight budget nearly untenable.

“Our shelter provides a safe and warm place out of harm’s way, food, clothing, civil protection orders, court advocacy, referrals to other social service agencies based on their needs and whatever is necessary to help the victim become self supportive,” Payne said. “We maintain a hotline, which is available after hours, on weekends and holidays.”

Payne said both the city of Ironton and the Lawrence County Commission have donated money in the past, as have some churches. She said Central Christian, Quinn Chapel, First Presbyterian and First United Methodist Churches well as others have all donated in the past.

Mt. Olive Baptist Church takes up a collection each month for the shelter; Tri-State Worship Center in Huntington, W.Va., sends $50 each month;. Payne is appealing to other churches to follow suit and make the shelter a regular priority.

Payne said she also hopes to have a benefit variety show in the near future to bring in some much-needed financial relief.

Those who wish to donate may call Payne at (740) 532-7284.