The Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County will receive $107,000 in federal funding to continue programs that provide housing and counseling for victims of domestic violence.
The grant, announced Wednesday, will assist the nonprofit center, which is struggling with a funding shortfall and decrease in donations this year.
"Quite simply, this award means we survive," said Doug Murphy, center director. "We can continue to provide services that are critical to women and families."
State, county and federal officials gathered at the center in Dundalk to announce the one-time grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is administered through the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
But the center must soon find other funding sources to cover a nearly $200,000 budget gap this year, said Scott Holupka, president of the center's board. It is looking to the business and religious communities for assistance.
"I don't want people to think that because the FCC received this federal money that it is any way out of the woods," Holupka said. "We are still in critical need of support just to continue the reduced services that we currently offer, let alone to be able to offer the additional counseling and resources that had to be cut due to our fiscal crisis."
With 35 beds, the center is the largest shelter for domestic violence victims in Baltimore County and is one of nearly 150 agencies across the state to benefit from more than $10 million in grant funds.
Murphy laid off two staff members last month and is not filling the recently vacated assistant director position. He has also discontinued one counseling program, but he stressed that the 31-year-old shelter, with an annual $950,000 budget, is not in danger of closing.
With an assist from the county, the center tripled its space in 2009. The county also contributes $112,000 a year to the center's operating budget. Although about 1,600 victims of domestic violence received assistance from the center in the last year, the staff still had to turn away 75 adults and 84 children. Most of them were directed to other shelters in the metropolitan area.
"The center will make it," said Mary Harvey, director of the Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation. "The staff here are always working for their clients. They need help with fundraising."