YWCA Spokane braces for federal funding cut for domestic violence prevention

For the last 22 years, local agencies have gotten help from the federal government in an effort to stop the cycle of abuse in Spokane, which has the highest rates of domestic violence in the state. In the grand scheme of things, this year will be no different, but advocates at YWCA Spokane say they won’t be getting as much money as they have in the past.

The Department of Justice is awarding a handful of agencies a three-year, $750,000 grant to fight domestic violence and YWCA Spokane will get half of that money. While it may seem like a lot, CEO Regina Malveaux says it equates to 25% less than she’s used to seeing.

Malveaux said the Trump administration changed the grant’s criteria, so for the first time in six years, YWCA Spokane will not be the lead on the grant, which translates to a cut in funding.

“Now victim services can only receive 50% of that funding which unfortunately has meant that we have had to reduce staff in that department,” Malveaux said. “Increasingly, we see that we’re really asked to do more with fewer resources.”

Malveaux is concerned staff cuts will lead to burnout, since resources will be spread thin and YWCA advocates may not be able to help as many victims through the legal process.

“I think that it’s always painful for me to contemplate the idea that we might have to serve fewer victims or serve them not nearly as comprehensively as they need us as a result of reductions in funding,” Malveaux said. “Certainly were these kinds of practices no longer supported, that could have a devastating impact on individual victims and the community.”

Malveaux told 4 News Now she will look to city and state government, as well as individual and corporate donors, to make up for the gap in funding, since the grant money kicks in on Tuesday.