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Funds Would Play Key Role at Domestic Abuse Shelter

February 24, 2014, 4:05 PM HST
* Updated February 24, 4:09 PM
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It’s small when compared to most County Council appropriations, but this one would play a big role in the lives of women and children at a critical time of need.

However, this particular legislation will require another change in the law before it can be voted upon.

Councilwoman Brenda Ford introduced a resolution providing $180 to purchase bus passes for residents of the West Hawaii Domestic Abuse Shelter.

She also appropriated another $500 in Resolution 241-13 to buy the shelter a crib and bassinet and related infant supplies.

Both measures were introduced in December, but then ran into a legal glitch.

Ford soon found out that county law has a prohibition on providing durable goods – such as the bassinet – to nonprofit groups.

So that means another bill modifying the law must first be introduced and passed to allow the resolutions to move forward. Ford said the earliest that is likely to occur is April.

The bus passes are designed to help the shelter’s clients with transportation to jobs, medical appointments and legal assistance.

The value of such a service cannot be overstated, said David Saindon, a program director at the shelter.

“Very often the clients we see have left [their homes] with only the shirts on their back,” said Saindon, who described the passes as “a lifeline to services.”

He said those services can also include visits with police officers involved in domestic violence cases as well as other social service agencies.

The money comes from Ford’s contingency monies which are provided to each council member to – more or less — use as he or she sees fit.

CFS logoThe shelter, a component of the non-profit Child and Family Service, was established in 1988. It has a “no-turn-away” policy, and assisted 120 adults and 79 children in the most recent fiscal year.

The shelter does have use of a van donated by Soroptimist International of Kona, but that often isn’t enough to cover its transportation needs.

“These bus passes are a way to ensure our clients can get from point A to point B without worrying about costs,” Saindon said.

Saindon said Ford, whose represents the southern end of the Big Island from Volcano to Kealakekua, has been a consistent supporter of the shelter’s mission and of victims of domestic violence.

“They sure need those forms of support,” he said.

Anyone interested in making donations to the shelter – the needs of which can vary — can call 322-7233 for information.

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