Simplified: The Children's Home Shelter for Family Safety – formerly known as Children's Inn – is facing a 40 percent budget shortfall, and they're going to be looking to state and local governments to help close the gap.
Why it matters
- Children's Home Shelter moved into a new, larger facility almost exactly one year ago, more than doubling the number of beds available for victims of domestic violence.
- Even in its greatly expanded space, the shelter has still seen nights where it's over capacity – with some nights up to 100 people seeking shelter, Program Director Amy Carter told the Minnehaha County Commission this week. Intakes are up 30 percent year-over-year, Carter added.
- Chief Operating Officer Deanna Larson told commissioners the nonprofit is facing a budget shortfall of 40.7 percent. That's nearly $2.4 million the nonprofit needs to come up with to continue services at its current rate, and it'll need support from the county – as well as other government partners.
"Simply put, the demand for services is stretching our finances beyond sustainability," Carter told Sioux Falls Simplified in a statement. "We are grateful for our donors and private partners who help try and offset costs, but as a valuable community asset, we need additional public dollars."
Tell me more
The shelter gives families a safe place to go to escape domestic violence. Just from January to September this year, the shelter gave more than 1,000 people a place to stay.
- In addition, Children's Home Shelter saw nearly 5,000 "crisis contacts," people who either come to the door or call in looking for help.
The shelter's expanded capacity has led to a big uptick in the number of people per day who stay in the shelter.
- Last year, in its prior facility with only 40 beds, the shelter was over capacity more often than not with an average of about 54 guests per night.
- This year, with 96 beds available, the shelter is averaging about 79 guests per night.
Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead was also at the commission meeting on Tuesday to voice his support for Children's Home Shelter.
"Unfortunately, the demand continues to grow," Milstead said. "We see more and more violence ... Our deputies and police officers use (Children's Home Shelter) on a daily basis."
What happens next?
The Children's Home Shelter is also reaching out to the other counties it serves – Lincoln, Union, Turner and McCook – for additional support, as well as to the state legislature, Carter said.
"The need is significant, and it's critical that it is met in order to assist victims and prevent future victimization," Carter said. "We ask that real consideration be given by public leaders to support Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety."