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Green Country agencies feel relief with shutdown lifted while preparing for the worst

Posted at 9:03 PM, Jan 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-27 23:06:43-05

WAGONER, Okla. — The phone is constantly ringing and the shelter is almost always at max capacity for the Help-In-Crisis agency.

The group assists victims of domestic violence, and about 90 percent of their funding comes from government grants. The executive director said when the shutdown lifted on Friday, she felt relief.

"I did go: okay, we're okay. We've got a few more weeks. But still the feeling that comes right behind that is, well, that's not good enough," Laura Kuester said.

A big part of this funding comes from the Victims of Crime Act, and that grant is due in March.

"Without a budget, the VOCA board won't have any idea how much they have to allot to all the agencies. The agencies across Oklahoma that receive VOCA funding... that's 39 million dollars," Kuester said.

Kuester said the need continues to grow, with at least 30 women across Green Country coming through the door in crisis every day.

"If we have to cut the fat in different places... there's really not a lot of fat but if I have two advocates doing the same job in two different counties I may have to pair down to one," she said.

The director said they made it through the last few weeks with donations from the community, minimizing impact on limited reserve funds.
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