Kristi Hall-Jiran, Grand Forks, letter: United Way offers vital support for CVICThe board, staff and clients of the Community Violence Intervention Center are grateful to the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area for its tremendous support in serving disadvantaged members of our community.
By: Kristi Hall-Jiran,
GRAND FORKS — The board, staff and clients of the Community Violence Intervention Center are grateful to the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area for its tremendous support in serving disadvantaged members of our community.
In the current economic climate, United Way support is needed more than ever. In the past two years, many avenues have been closed to the people we serve, who have been painfully impacted by continuing decreases in income.
Last year, one in every four adults and children served by CVIC for domestic violence became homeless, climbing from one in five the previous year. This leaves many with a daunting choice: either continue to live with violence and fear but with a roof over their head; or try to escape, knowing they have no way to support their children.
For most, CVIC is the only place they have to find safety from the violence at home.
CVIC sustained a 106 percent increase in those who were sheltered (from 62 to 128), a 64 percent increase in those in need of jobs (from 73 to 120) and a 45 percent increase in those in need of housing (from 154 to 223) over the past two years.
Our Abuse and Rape Crisis Program served an additional 177 adults and children in 2009 compared with 2007.
This trend has continued in 2010. In the first six months of this year, CVIC has seen a 37 percent increase in crisis line calls, a 32 percent increase in the number of nights adults and children are spending in shelter or homeless and a 65 percent in the number of protection orders obtained by clients (often an indicator of the severity of the violence) compared with the first six months of last year.
While CVIC secures many federal and other grants to support its services, many of these require local funding as match. United Way funds let us show local support and thus secure outside funding that supports services — and gives a boost to the local economy.
Without United Way support, it would be harder for us to bring in these funds.
Most important, United Way funds help CVIC save and rebuild lives, providing direct services to more than 1,800 and education and training to nearly 9,300 adults and children each year.
United Way supports violence intervention services through our Abuse and Rape Crisis Program, including children’s services and transitional housing, and violence prevention services through our New Choices Program for offenders and our Prevention and Education Program.
Because we provide diverse programs under one roof (that are often provided by entirely different agencies in other communities), we are able to offer more cost-effective services, directing less funding to overhead and more funding to helping people in need.
We truly are thankful for our wonderful partnership with the United Way and area community members. It is through these partnerships that we are able to offer life-saving services to those in need and begin to build a community that works together to prevent violence.
Hall-Jiran is executive director of the Community Violence Intervention Center.