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Without Federal Funding, Shelter For Victims Of Domestic Violence Struggles

A group that helps domestic violence victims in the District is bracing for budget cuts that could fall on them because of the government shutdown.

While this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Congressional gridlock may lead to vital funding cuts for the only shelter in the city that helps families right after domestic violence is reported.

Relying on a mix of federal and local dollars and donations, D.C. Safe served more than 5,000 victims last year, according to its director Natalia Otero. She says they just learned the federal aid is set to expire today because of the government shutdown.

"Last night we house 17 families in our emergency shelter and 50 children, and those are people in desperate need of emergency services and shouldn't suffer just because of politics," Otero says.

Otero is going through the process of getting a waiver, but it could be a long process. So in the meantime, they're working on contingency plans.

"There's a potential if this continues for any more time that we'll have to run with a skeleton staff, how to ask our community to come in and pitch in, to volunteer," she says.

Otero says D.C. Safe needs to raise $19,000 this week to keep its doors open. You can make a donation on their website at DCSafe.org.

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