Only shelter for domestic violence, sexual assault victims in Leavenworth County closes

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- The only shelter for domestic violence victims in Leavenworth County has closed due to budgetary problems.

For years The Alliance Against Family Violence provided 24-hour direct support services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in western Kansas. But the shelter announced in mid-November that the funds to sustain such operations had run out.

“We just learned recently that the alliance had to layoff all of their staff and close their doors temporarily due to a cash flow issue,” said Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

AAFV is funded through grants and donations, and those funding sources couldn’t sustain the organization any longer.

“Many of their grants are on a reimbursement basis, so you have to spend the money to get the money," Grover said. "That can work fine but you may have an expense over here and then you don’t have that cash flowing in to help you Cary on long enough to get your grant reimbursements."

Because of this, in mid-November all staff members were laid off and families who were staying in the shelter had to be relocated.

“ Lawrence, Topeka, the metro Kansas City area -- those organizations are providing the services," Grover said. "We’re really trying to make sure that victims understand that help is still available. It may not be available in their community, but there are still people who can reach out and help."

Administrators said it will take at least $50,000 before the shelter can reopen. They’ll continue to apply for grants but are hopeful for donations so they can get back up and running faster.

“When a victim reaches out for help, that can sometimes be the most dangerous time," Grover said. "So you really want to have services available immediately for someone who is reaching out. So we are very concerned that the services are currently closed and working very hard to get them up and open."

AAFV leaders have no timeline for when the center might be able to re-open. They’re accepting monetary gifts through Paypal, or by mail to: Alliance Against Family Violence, P.O. Box 465, Leavenworth, KS 66048.