Local non-profit looking again to the community for help getting through the shutdown
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A non-profit already hit hard by at the beginning of the federal government shutdown says they're about to take yet another hit as the shutdown continues.
Our House, a shelter for the working homeless almost lost a third of their staff when the funding for Americorps got cut with the shutdown. The Americorps VISTA program provides a stipend to Americans that volunteers that live in poverty while working with America's impoverished population.
Donors stepped up to the plate with monetary gifts and gift cards allowing the shelter's volunteer staff to live day-to-day, but now Our House finds themselves begging for help once again. This time it's the shelter's family housing and child-care services that are taking a blow; services that 13 families at the shelter rely on.
Teshia James has her hands full with four kids, one being a newborn. James and her husband are both working, trying to get back on their feet with the help of Our House.
"It's basically a bridge over troubled waters," said James. "Just trying to come from one place in your life, as for being childish in a lot of your ways and growing up."
But James bridge over troubled waters is in trouble itself if congress doesn't act quickly to end the shutdown. The funds for the shelter's family housing unit and child care services are largely connected to federal HUD grants.
"We have the grant, we just can't actually access them," laments Georgia Mjartan, executive director of Our House.
The situation puts Mjartan between a rock and a hard place.
"We're looking at where we need to cut and I'm just starting to have those conversations with the homeless families who rely on us," said Mjartan.
It's families like James', who not only rely on Our House for a roof over their heads but also the child care they provide to allow them to work and save money.
"It's a trickling effect. It's not just one thing; it's a domino effect," said James. "Once one domino falls, multiple fall in."You can send a monetary donation online. Click on I want my donation to be designated toward then Scroll to Fill the Gap - Government Shutdown Assistance
Drop off a gift card, gas card or monetary donation at Our House:302 E. Roosevelt Road
Little Rock, AR 72206