CASA to close its doors for good
Tue, 12 Jun 2012 01:44:24 GMT —
The domestic violence shelters in Horry and Georgetown counties lost funding after an announcement last week that the State Law Enforcement Agency is investigating allegations of mismanagement of state grants.
"There's no operating money, so we had to close the door," says Citizens Against Spouse Abuse Board Director, Sissy Rutherford.
CASA is near and dear to Rutherford, she used to live in the CASA Safe House.
"It meant a new life, I mean for me 20 years go, they saved my life," says Rutherford.
CASA has been helping victims for over 30 years.
On average, they assist 500 victims per year, they house around 250 people.
The victims who were left in the safe house were assisted in finding new housing, but that didn't make it any easier for Rutherford.
"It's heartbreaking to have to send them some place else," says the Board Director.
The biggest heartbreak for Rutherford is the victims that haven't been helped yet.
"My concerns are the ones that have to come in this week, because there's not a day that goes by that we don't get a phone call of somebody that needs help and now they're going to have to call the police department and speak to the victims advocate."
Rutherford says that process can be more daunting for victims, where CASA was trained to handle these situations.
Losing the building has been what Rutherford calls a grieving process, "I thought I was past the crying part, I'm kind of in the angry stage."
United Way of Horry County was just one of several contributors that pulled the plug on their funding last week.
United Way's President, Olivia Garren, says her company is concerned about the program, but she has to stay loyal to her donors.
"We have to assure our donors that the money they give to United Way and then goes on to these other services is well managed and well handled," says Garren.
Rutherfurd says that she "understands why, it just still hurts"
Although she is disappointed by the large pull of donations, she says her board may be to blame.
"As a Board of Directors, you have to be honest with yourself and say we missed something here, somehow," says Rutherford.
Until the investigation is over, CASA and it's services are on hold.
Victims of domestic violence can contact victim advocates for help.