RUPERT | The domestic violence center and safe house in Rupert lost its major source of funding at the first of the year and since then, officials have struggled to restructure the center.
Mark Burgess, president-elect of the Mini-Cassia Shelter Inc., also known as Haven of Hope, said the center’s former director left for medical reasons last year, and the center’s board of directors turned over 75 percent of its members in the same time frame. That caused a series of failures in meeting state requirements.
The center provides a safe house for victims of domestic violence, advocates for victims and refers them to community resources, helps provide transportation to court, doctors and attorney appointments. The shelter also offers public education on domestic violence.
“We have become a place where people turn to in their time of need,” Burgess said.
The center provides emergency services to an average of 10 victims a month and it serves 170 families each month through the Mobile Idaho Food Bank. The shelter also provides about 25 food boxes for families in need each month.
The center used to rely on a $50,000 a year grant from the Idaho Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
“When we lost that money, we lost the lion’s share of our funding,” Burgess said.
The loss of funding was due to the failure to meet several changes in state regulations, he said. Due to the changes in leadership, “things didn’t get done,” Burgess said.
The center has completed a clean audit and no money was misappropriated, he said.
Some of the failed state requirements were structural changes in the building, which belongs to the city and required staff training, which there was no funding for.
In February, the state performed an unannounced visit, “and pulled the plug,” Burgess said.
The shelter has to completely reorganize, including applying for a new tax exempt status. It can reapply for the grant in 2016.