Written by Cinthya Rubio
The Family Crisis Center is facing funding threats along with other non-profit organizations.
The Family Crisis Center was founded in 1987 and began as an effort to bring services closer to local communities, according to the Family Crisis Center website.
Sheridan Hartman, a junior studying early childhood education, said having the Family Crisis Center has allowed the community to know they have a place they can go when they face a problem with abuse, and need a place of shelter.
“Even though I have not faced any of the situations that the people who have gone to the center for help have gone through, having the knowledge that I have a place like the Family Crisis Center gives me the reassurance that, if I ever face something like that I will have a place where I can go and feel safe,” Hartman said.
There is an increase of students and student-families that have reached out to the Family Crisis Center, according to Margie Harris, executive director of the Family Crisis Center.
Hartman has volunteered for the Family Crisis Center and said why it is important to her to have this organization in the Rexburg community.
“I think the Family Crisis Center is such a great resource for people to have in the community,” Hartman said. “It allows people who are in need, to be able to have those basic services and can focus on the problems that they may be struggling with.”
Hartman said most students are aware of the thrift store that the Family Crisis Center has, but they do not realize that the Family Crisis Center offers many more services available for the community.
“Before I volunteered, I didn’t know much about what the Family Crisis Center was,” Hartman said. “I only knew that they had a store that provided food and clothing to people in need. However, after volunteering, I now know how much they do for the community of Rexburg.”
Family Crisis Center receives funds from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which is part of the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance, and if this deal goes through, VOCA will be at risk and could potentially lose more than $1 billion in funding compared to last year, according to The Huffington Post.
This means the vital programs and services for victims are now facing cutbacks, according to The Family Crisis Center website.
The Family Crisis Center provides many services for the community, which include the 24-hour crisis line, shelter, crisis intervention services referral to emergency medical services and legal advocacy, according to the Family Crisis Center website. They also provide weekly women’s support groups, weekly children’s support group, women’s individual counseling, community education and public awareness, and community food and clothing.
Harris said she encourages BYU-Idaho students and other members of the community to reach out to the representatives of Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, Congressman Mike Simpson, and Senator Jim Risch, and let them know why funds should not be cut.
“It matters when you call a representative,” Harris said. “It matters when you call a senator. When people call senators and representatives, they do actually listen. The more people who call, the more they will pay attention.”
Harris said the number of people who have gone to the Family Crisis Center to seek for help has increased at least 30 percent since last year, and is continuing to increase each year.
Harris said the amount of people who seek these services tend to increase after the Christmas holidays.
“Most people have the misconception that there are more people who seek for help during the Christmas holidays, but that is not the case,” Harris said. “If anything people tend to be on their best behaviors during this time. We actually see an increase around January when the bills start to come in, and a lot more people are not able to get out of their homes because of bad weather.
Harris said students can help the Family Crisis Center services going by raising awareness, going and volunteering in their food banks or donating to them.
“When people donate items to us, they are not only helping the families who are in great need of them, but they also help us by allowing us to continue to offer these services to the community,” Harris said.
Harris also stresses the importance of raising awareness about the services that this center provides will be beneficial for the community.
“We want the students to know that there is a place in their community that they can come to if they need it,” Harris said.