Domestic violence shelters await legislators’ decision in Oklahoma

By: Paige Tebow Email
By: Paige Tebow Email

MARSHALL COUNTY, Okla. -- Many Oklahoma domestic violence shelters are depending on legislators to stay in business. The State Attorney General's Office was asking for $3 million to keep their centers operating, but officials say the money set aside for them fell short.

The budget includes $500,000 more for domestic violence centers, the first increase in 13 years.

While directors aren't complaining, they fear it won't be enough to keep their doors open.

Marshall County Family Services and the Durant Crisis Center helped more than 1,000 men, women, and children escape domestic violence situations last year.

Due to federal funding cuts, the center’s ability to do that may be in jeopardy.

Marshall County had to eliminate jobs and cut back hours and services because of the crunch.

The Pauls Valley office shut down earlier this year, and although centers in Ardmore and Ada are functioning, money is tight.

While the $500,000 extra might not cover all 27 offices in the state, lawmakers say there's still hope.

A bill on the table now calls for a $3 court case fee to go toward victims of domestic violence and child advocacy.

With a week and a half remaining in the session, legislators say they're committed to making it happen.

Dawn Hoedebeck at Marshall County Family Services is one of many waiting and watching.

"We’re all on pins and needles right now. We’ve been under budget since November. With all money we've raised, this is what we've been waiting for, to see if we can all go back up normal salaries housing."

Local centers are not sure how much of the money they'll receive. Directors are meeting with the Attorney General's Office this week to discuss the allocation of the funding.

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