Budget cuts at the state level prompted cuts to DOVES this summer, resulting in a loss of $207,000—or, effectively, ¼ of the budget—for the local agency that provides Domestic Violence Education and Services for men, women and children, including a 17-bed shelter and a 24-hour crisis hotline, available at 800-851-7601. The financial cuts to DOVES prompted the closure of the agency’s Blue Jay office, and layoffs to four employees at the Big Bear office in Summit Plaza. However, as of October 21, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that will temporarily restore funding to 94 domestic violence service agencies throughout the State, including DOVES; to do this, $16.3 million is being borrowed from the Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund, which will translate to the reinstatement of $165,000 to DOVES. According to DOVES Executive Director Kathi Harper, “This victory is particularly sweet, coming as it does during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” Though DOVES was able to keep their shelter open despite earlier cuts, restored funding will allow other agencies to reinstate previously closed shelters, though Governor Schwarzenegger’s funding allowance under the current bill will only extend through June 2010. Harper and the Board of Directors for DOVES say they were able to maintain services, thanks to community partners and individuals who supported their program, with Harper adding, “We are constantly amazed at the generosity of the citizens and merchants of Big Bear Valley, and want to thank you for helping us keep our doors open.” For more information on DOVES, visit their new website at DOVES4Help.org.
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