Government shutdown halts Violence Against Women Act grant


    Nebraska is one of the states least affected by the federal government shutdown but it's hitting Omaha in some surprising ways.

    Groups that help protect women said they'll be hurting if a solution isn't found soon because funding for the violence against women act is on hold.

    The Women's Center of Advancement said if this shutdown lasts another week and a half, many people are in danger of not being able to eat.

    Although the center has yet to be hit, employees say the organization will help to pay for clients groceries with emergency expenses, and that is something they are prepared to do if the shutdown lasts.

    "When they come to us and they tell us, well we're not eating this month or this week because no one is there for me to get my food stamps," said Elizabeth Powers. "We then feel a responsibility to say 'Okay, how do we get you some groceries?"

    Until the shutdown is lifted, the WCA said its clients who rely on food stamps to eat can turn to the center for support.

    "Our clients rely on other federal organizations to help them every month; for example, food stamps, and at some point their won't be anyone at that office to make sure they are getting the food stamps they need."

    Right now, the WCA relies on a grant provided through the violence against women act; it helps with month to month costs.

    With no one currently available to review the reports, their funding will also be put on hold; meaning any money to help those on food stamps will need to come from extra funds.

    "We figure out how we can use some of our emergency assistance because we want people to be fed!"

    Another Omaha non-profit, Open Door Mission, said it expects to see more people coming in because of the shutdown.

    "The market goes up and down, people get afraid," said Steve Frazee. "So while we are based on donations and all of that, all of this has impacts on everybody as they try to plan for the future."

    Although the Open Door Mission isn't funded by the government, employees are anticipating people turning to them for food until the shutdown is over.

    "All of the things we receive are donated, so we in turn give them away for free, so people are able to come once a month and are able to get anything we have."

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