Guardian Shelter loses large grant

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 30, 2010

NATCHEZ — The Guardian Shelter for Battered Families will be forced to slice its budget by 40 percent after losing a major source of grant funding.

The nonprofit Catholic charity for domestic violence victims will lose a $75,000 Emergency Shelter Grant from the Mississippi Development Authority in mid-August, Director of Catholic Charities, Inc. Martha Mitternight said.

The Guardian Shelter has offered a safe haven to victims of domestic violence since it opened in 1991. Mitternight said its most important role is to give women a second chance at life.

It offers counseling and support to help victims recover from their abuse and develop healthier future relationships, and takes women through the process of moving on from their abusers.

And although statistics show that women return to their abusers an average of three times, Mitternight said the shelter provides them with all the resources they need when they are ready to create a new life.

The shelter has nine full-time employees and a hand full of part timers and is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Mitternight said lately, the shelter’s seven available rooms have been full each night.

The Guardian Shelter in Natchez services 11 counties in Southwest Mississippi. The Guardian Shelter also services domestic violence victims in Concordia Parish.

Mitternight said the shelter’s leaders will cut the budget where they can, look for other grants and ask for donations.

A few fundraisers, such a 5K run, are already in different stages of planning, Mitternight said.

The earliest another grant source could give funding to the shelter would be January, Mitternight said.

To donate to The Guardian Shelter, bring or mail a check to 109 South Union St. Checks should be made out to Catholic Charities, Inc. with a note attached or in the memo line that funds should be spent by the Guardian Shelter. For more information, call Mitternight at 601-442-4579.

This grant loss arrives on the heels of the Sunshine Shelter’s loss of a $46,000 grant from the Victims Of Crime Fund, distributed by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.