Memphis nonprofit dependent on federal funds struggling because of shutdown

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Jan. 15, 2019 at 10:40 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Employees of federal agencies like the IRS aren’t the only ones missing a paycheck – so are those who have individual contracts with the federal government.

Some local programs are scrambling to find funding during this partial government shutdown.

It is a competitive process to win a contract with the federal government.

One local profit said they are dependent on those funds to operate and help a particularly vulnerable Memphis population.

“So say they don't have a voice, somebody have to be their voice,” said Ines Negrette, founder of CasaLuz.

Negrette is the voice for sexual assault or domestic violence victims, specifically Hispanic women who face additional barriers.

“The language, the culture, the fear of law enforcement,” Negrette said.

Her non-profit CasaLuz is in financial trouble because 90 percent of its funds come from the federal government, which has been partially shut down for the last 25 days.

The small staff inside the tiny office space are all federal contracted workers.

“We need to continue to pay our counselors and advocates so that they can feed their families and come in and do this important work,” said CasaLuz Board Chair Cindy Shainberg.

Shainberg said while most of the attention during the shutdown has gone to the 800,000 federal employees, she wants people to remember those who are paid through individual contracts.

The money isn't coming in, but they are determined to keep their doors open.

“We are doing our best to raise private donations and to get loans from the banks so that we can continue our work because we're determined not to turn anyone away,” Shainberg said. “Our schedules are filled and there are people calling us every day.”

Negrette said they've seen a 22 percent increase in Hispanic victims in Memphis reporting their abusers.

They say it's a result of the work done here, work they'll continue despite a government shutdown.

Negrette said It costs about $20,000 a month to operate. Right now, they are depending on private donations.

If you’d like to donate, call (901) 500-8214 or visit their website.

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