Federal funding begins to flow to Pa. domestic violence shelters

     Joan Crater, Tracey York, and Mary Kay Bernosky of Berks Women in Crisis. (Mary Wilson/WHYY)

    Joan Crater, Tracey York, and Mary Kay Bernosky of Berks Women in Crisis. (Mary Wilson/WHYY)

    Domestic violence shelters pinched by Pennsylvania’s budget impasse are receiving some of their federal funding this week.

    For some, the money comes in the nick of time.


    “It’s absolutely huge at this point,” said Mark Kay Bernosky, who runs the Berks Women in Crisis shelter in Berks County. Her organization received $42,000 in federal funds this week, after a five-month dry spell due to the state budget stalemate. She said the release of federal money saves Women in Crisis from a forced shutdown.

    “We’ve been utilizing lines of credit and trying to continue all our services uninterrupted,” said Bernosky. “And getting that funding now would mean that we could continue to operate.”

    But the money comes too late for some of Bernosky’s sister programs. Many domestic violence shelters have curbed services because the state budget impasse has held up their government funding.

    “I know that a lot of them are in much worse shape than we are,” she said. “I know some have actually shut down.”

    The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence said in a written statement that $1.4 million in federal funding owed to shelters was released this week when the state learned that the payments were “required.”

    Gov. Tom Wolf said the money was released after “collaborating” with federal officials.

    Wolf’s spokesman said later that those talks had also prompted an additional $3 million in federal funds to be released – some of it going to domestic violence centers, some of it going to other unidentified local programs.

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