The Richmond Register

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Lifestyles & Community

April 2, 2014

State funding to help keep domestic violence shelter open

Hope’s Wings to receive $100K each of next two years

RICHMOND — Money for Madison County domestic violence intervention in the recently passed $20 billion state budget will be used to keep the Hope’s Wings shelter open.

The budget bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

Hope’s Wings Director Jennifer Lainhart said the budget provides the agency with $100,000 in each of the next two fiscal years. The shelter also receives financial support from county and city governments as well as private donations.

The shelter doesn’t just provide a place for women and children to live while getting away from abusive partners, Lainhart said. The money also will go toward early intervention and early childhood programs for the temporary residents.

In 2013, Hope’s Wings provided emergency shelter to 94 women and children, including four infants who were born to mothers while they were staying there.

State funding also was included in the previous biennial budget, so Lainhart said she was pleased Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, was able to keep funding in place.

“I think (Smart) truly fought hard for the women and children of Madison County,” Lainhart said.

Smart said Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, also was instrumental in making sure funding for the shelter stayed in the budget on the Senate side.

At one point, the funding was removed from the budget during negotiations by state senators who maintained that program funding needed to go to statewide initiatives, Smart said. However, it later was restored.

“I think sometimes people don’t realize how a small amount of money can really impact people and a community,” Smart said.

She said women, children and mental health issues often get little attention from the state legislature.

Smart said she pushed for the funding because Madison County has benefited from the work performed by the Hope’s Wings staff and volunteers. Residents of other counties also use the shelter.

“Domestic violence is a terrible problem in our society,” Smart said.

She’s been impressed by how Hope’s Wings has pursued a variety of grants for funding and been efficient in managing its money, Smart said. The program also has worked closely with local law enforcement and court agencies to find better, more effective ways of reducing domestic violence, she added.

“It’s been a very collaborative effort,” Smart said.

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