End of shutdown may have come too late for LR abuse shelter

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Even though Congress ended the shutdown{}Wednesday,{}the financial troubles for a Little Rock abuse shelter may be far from over.

Many of us can breathe a sigh of relief now that Congress has finally pulled the country from the brink of financial disaster. But the anxiety still runs high at one abuse shelter thousands of dollars behind in bills.

"I had a cast iron skillet broken over my head," said Vicky Williams, a former victim at the shelter.

Horrific stories of abuse like this are all too common at Women and Children First which houses over 600 abuse victims a year.

"This place saved my life and saved the lives of my children," she said.

Fourteen{}years ago Vicky Williams and her children, one of them former Razorback{}D.J. Williams, left her ex-husband in Texas after nearly a decade of abuse.

"They were suicidal," she said.{}"My son was about to kill himself to get out of this situation."

She knows firsthand how important the shelter is for victims of abuse.

"I owe a lot to this shelter," Williams said.

But current and future victims may not be as fortunate as Williams. The shelter is $40,000{}in the hole due to the shutdown.

"'If they center shuts down what choice do they have?' A lot of them will think I have to go back," she said.

Daniel Robinson, chairman of the center's board, says even though the government is re-opened it's still a waiting game to get a{}$60,000 grant owed to them.

"It doesn't do you any good to get reimbursed after you go out of business," said Robinson.

He says if it comes too late 16 families will face eviction--and tough decisions.

"If someone like Vicky gets turned away and goes home and is killed, was a simple squabble in D.C. worth Vicky's life?" said Robinson.

Williams knows all too well if the government doesn't catch up quickly on 16 days of paperwork it could be the last decision these victims make.

"The abuser now knows what they've done," said Williams. "They're going to be on the lookout for it. It's going to get worse."

The shelter said that it has not had to cut any programs just yet.{}It have enough funds to last them two to three weeks.