“We need this to end,” Oklahoma domestic violence shelters share impact of government shutdown

OKLAHOMA CITY - While the longest partial government shutdown in the history of our nation continues, many people are affected in many different ways, including some of our most vulnerable.

"If we miss one victim, that's a life and death situation right there," said Candida Manion, the executive director of the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

The coalition represents Oklahoma shelters and victims on a national level, advocating for legislation and policy, as well as funding.

"Currently, everything is okay, but they will have an issue if this continues in a month's time," Manion said.

Manion said shelters are staying afloat but planning ahead in case they must use unrestricted funds and eventually run on credit.

The shutdown is having the greatest impact on rural shelters, like Hope in Crisis in Tahlequah, where Laura Kuester is the executive director.

"We need this to end so we can continue doing the work that we're doing and we can continue to help the people that are literally trying to stay alive," Kuester said.

Hope in Crisis serves four counties. Kuester said it's vital they stay up and running for those who need them most.

"For example, last Friday, we had a woman show up who was black, blue, bloody nose, crying," she said. "She had two little kids she was toting around, and she had a backpack on her back that had everything that she could possibly fit in her backpack and she was literally fleeing for her life."

"We are one of the worst states for domestic violence, so we know we need consistent funding to keep our doors open," Manion said.

OCADVSA said, if the shutdown runs into February, they may have to look into getting a loan, as well.

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