OKC Domestic Abuse Program Faces Uncertain Future

Monday, October 10th 2011, 7:28 pm
By: News 9

Darren Brown, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Social services compete for, or share funding in most communities. But in Oklahoma City, one social program may end up giving way to another program completely. 

Oklahoma City's Latino Community Development Agency provides a number of services for the area.  One program, the Transitional Housing Program, has been in existence since 2005. 

The program provides classes and training, along with safe housing and other services for domestic abuse victims and their families.

The program was started as an outreach for the homeless Latino community in 1998, but transitioned to the housing program in response to a larger need. 

Virginia spent a little less than a year in the program, but claims it changed her life.  She also claims it gave her a new family.

"Somebody to worry about me, about my kids, how am I feeling," said Virginia.  "I thank God for these people."

However, the federal grant money that the program relies on may be reallocated soon.  A citizen oversight committee makes recommendations to the city's Social Services Committee about the funds, and recently questioned the LCDA's use of the annual $80,000 grant.

At issue is the fact that the LCDA's transitional housing program had $3,600 left over at the end of this last fiscal year.  The grant was supposed to be exhausted.

Pat Fennell, the Latino Community Development Agency's president, said the error was due to an invoice for repair jobs arriving too late to submit.  Fennell doesn't think that the domestic abuse program should suffer because of the errors.

"It seems like, what we want in programs is not necessarily the same goal.  It's to spend all the money," said Fennell.  "It seems like to me, that the main program is to get good results.  And so we're getting faulted for producing good results using less money."   

The citizen committee will give its recommendations to the city's Social Service Committee on Tuesday, and then the results will be passed on the city council.