For 22 years, Moss House, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence, has provided a safe haven, hope and resources for those in need of shelter from the havoc that domestic or sexual violence can wreak on lives.
The Council On Families in Crisis has sent out a letter to its supporters, summarizing the events of the past year and highlighting needs for the future.
Many challenges, not the least of which are the numbers of people in need, have been met by the organization. In 2011, Moss House provided shelter and support for 163 families; with 5,009 "bed nights," nights when a person was provided a place to sleep overnight, answered 250 hotline calls and provided more than 6,000 meals. As of mid-December, the facility had helped 174 families, taken 312 hotline calls and provided more than 5,000 meals.
The agency offers 24-hour emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, crisis intervention, case management, safety planning, self-sufficiency classes, life-skill classes, support group, court advocacy, information and referrals, transportation, substance abuse group, domestic violence education classes, parenting classes, financial planning classes, children's program, task forces in Vernon and Bates counties, community education, a speakers' bureau and a 30-week batterer intervention program.
It's been a financial challenge this year in many ways, the letter said.
Katherine's Place needed a significant roof repair that cost $11,000. The shelter needed new water lines to replace old, corroded copper pipes, at a cost of $4,700. Next year, the porch roof on the shelter will need replacing at an estimated cost of $5,000, and a new central air unit to replace the one that failed last summer will cost about $6,000.
The shelter also was remodeled, with new paint, carpeting, beds, bedding, blinds and curtains -- an effort made possible through many monetary donations and volunteer time.
While all this was going on, grant funding decreased. A federal emergency shelter grant that formerly funded $40,000 in expenses was reduced to $16,500, and FEMA funds were reduced by another $10,000. Reserve funds have been depleted, and in 2013, fundraising efforts will try to meet the ever-growing need in the face of ever-shrinking funding.
Because Moss House is a qualified shelter under the Domestic Violence Shelter Tax Credit Program, any donation of $100 or more in a calendar year is eligible for a 50 percent credit to be offset against any tax liability owed to the state of Missouri, and can be carried forward over four years if it is not all used in one tax year. More information about this option can be obtained online at dss.mo.gov/dfas/taxcredit/dvtaxcredit.htm, or call the Council On Families in Crisis offices at (417) 667-7171.