YWCA Spokane awarded federal loan at crucial time

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County has the highest rates of domestic violence in the state and advocates worry things will only get worse the longer we are asked to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19 — which is why they say a federal loan from the Paycheck Protection Program could not have come at a more important time.

“Violence thrives in isolation and the longer that survivors are in a home where there are increasing stressors, we know that the number of incidents are going to increase,” says CEO Regina Malveaux.

Malveaux says advocates have already seen a massive spike in calls to their crisis line, just in the last couple of weeks.

“We’re going into the fifth week of closures and the first few weeks we did not see that bump and we kind of think that was a result of people just being really focused on their basic needs,” she says. “Last Friday our crisis line numbers were up considerably — probably about 35 or 40%.”

But Malveaux says even if her fears become reality and those numbers keep climbing, there will be someone on the other line — no matter what — because this week, YWCA Spokane got approved for a PPP loan.

“While it is usually the case that operating with the federal government can be very, very difficult, this is unique,” Malveaux tells 4 News Now. “We were able to apply the first day the first day those funds were eligible, which was the Friday before last and our loan was approved and we were funded on Monday, the next business day.”

According to Malveaux, the non-profit will put about $300,000 toward payroll over the next few weeks for its 82 employees who serve across its domestic violence program, women’s opportunity center and children’s services.

“Just the idea of having to lay off even one of them was devastating,” she says. “We would’ve had to reduce services somewhere and so just being able to remain available for the community and for those who need us during such a critical time, is just really really important and not sure we would’ve been able to do that without this loan.”

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