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LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -
A domestic violence shelter for women and children in Leavenworth County, KS, could close for the rest of the year if it can't raise $30,000 to $45,000 soon.
When law enforcement in Leavenworth County respond to domestic violence calls or cases of sexual abuse against children, officers always turn to one organization to help the victims survive and recover.
But now Alliance Against Family Violence and their staff are in jeopardy because of a financial crisis.
"I remember being so scared the day I got here. This was my bed," Shana said, pointing to the bottom bunk in a room with two bunk beds.
She said July 8, 2011 was the day that changed her life forever. She left her home and everything she owned to come to a safe house in Leavenworth to escape the violent hands of an abuser.
"He was a mental maniac. It started getting physical and he started to attack my children," Shana said.
But today she has a job and her own place for her family thanks to staff at the Alliance Against Family Violence.
"This staff, they are wonderful because, when I wanted to give up, they never let me. And I threw in the towel more than once and they gave it back," Shana said.
But the organization that helped 1,400 women and children hurt by domestic violence and sexual assaults in Leavenworth County last year is now facing a financial crunch that could close their doors.
"The worst case scenario is that I couldn't pay for services and we would have to close down until January," said Kay Anderson, the center's executive director.
Anderson said there was a perfect storm that created the problem and it involved the government shutdown delaying federal payments that should have already come as well as their number of donations being down.
"We have had to lay off seven of our staff, which is about half of the shelter staff, and the rest of us continue to do services, but we're spread very thin," she said.
Leavenworth County Sheriff Andy Dedeke said closing the domestic violence shelter could become a matter of life or death.
"If a victim does not have a resource to go to they are essentially trapped in an environment that is not good for them or the children and it can result in deadly consequences," he said.
Shana said she can only hope and pray that some sort of financial assistance comes soon.
"Please dear god, help these guys stay open because it means a lot to people like me," she said as she wiped a tear from her eye.
She even wrote a poem of gratitude that still hangs in the shelter entitled The House of Hope.
"It is your turn to shine and live life again with all the pain that brought us all here to this house of hope," she read.
The Alliance Against Family Violence helps families in Leavenworth, Basehor, Tonganoxie and portions of Bonner Springs. They are pleading for the community's help.
They will be getting new grant money on Jan. 1 but, for the next six weeks, they need to raise the thousands of dollars to keep their doors open for the rest of the year.
If people would like to make a tax deductible donation, they can send donations directly to the Alliance Against Family Violence at:
AAFVPO Box 465Leavenworth, KS 66048
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