Days after the District made the shocking announcement that $20 million had been cut from the homeless services budget for the 2010 fiscal year, advocates and organizations that provide shelter for the homeless are still reeling. One of The Women’s Foundation grantee partners is reaching out for help – as winter approaches and the organizations that assist the homeless face a crisis.
Calvary Women’s Services was notified Monday, September 28, by The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP) that contract funding for Calvary would be cut by nearly $75,000 beginning October 1st. These funds support safe housing and other services for 150 homeless women each year. TCP is an independent, non-profit corporation that coordinates DC’s Continuum of Care homeless services.
Calvary is one of many social service providers notified of cuts to their existing contracts. Emergency, transitional and supported permanent housing programs were all targeted as the city attempted to close an ever-widening budget gap. The impact of these cuts on the overall homeless services system is going to be severe, with some housing programs reducing their services and others likely closing programs.
Although these cuts may provide some immediate relief to the city’s budget problems, the real impact of the cuts will be felt by those in need of safe housing and support services. Women who have already lost their jobs in this economic crisis will have fewer services and housing options available to them. These cuts will make women who are already at-risk much more likely to end up living on the streets or in unsafe situations.
The women who come to programs like Calvary are survivors of violence, women struggling with mental illness, and women working to overcome addictions. At Calvary we make sure they have access to all of the services they need to address these challenges – in addition to providing a safe place to live.
We know that programs like ours work. Every five days a woman moves out of Calvary and into her own home.
We have always relied on the support of both public funding and private donations to make our programs possible. In the past, supporters have helped us close gaps like this one, and I am hopeful that the community will step up once again. But I am also concerned that this gap may be too wide for our generous donors to close.
The coming months will be challenging ones for organizations like Calvary, as we try to find ways to continue to provide women in this community with critical, life changing services. More so, they will be challenging months for women who need services like ours, as they face closed doors and reduced services at programs across the city.
You can make a difference. Support Calvary – or another agency facing these cuts – today.
Volunteer, donate or learn more at www.calvaryservices.org.
Kris Thompson is the Executive Director of Calvary Women’s Services, recognized as a 2009 Leadership Awardee by The Women’s Foundation. Learn more about them on their Web site or on Facebook.