Toledo’s YWCA rape crisis center and women’s shelter imperiled by continuing government shutdown

Organization’s CEO faces reducing employees hours, limiting available services

YWCA center lay off

TOLEDO (WTOL) - If the goverment shutdown extends beyond this week, the YWCA’s women’s shelter and rape crisis center will be forced to lay off employees and limit services.

Lisa McDuffie, president and CEO of the YWCA of Northwest Ohio, said, “We have nearly 100 employees, (and) our payroll is 120 (people) every two weeks. We’ve got to reduce our cash.”

Reducing cash means layoffs and reduced hours by the end of this week.

That leaves McDuffie with a difficult question.

“We know we can’t shut our doors. How do we do what we do to the best of our ability with as few as possible?”

The organization relies heavily on state and federal grants and many of the state grants they receive are money passed down from the Department of Justice, which is affected by the shutdown.

This leaves McDuffie with almost no information on where future funding will come from.

"To be perfectly honest, and I know my staff is going to see this even though they think I have this shield of bravery, but I'm pretty petrified," McDuffie said.

And the United Way says the longer the shutdown goes on, the more organizations may have to lay off employees.

It also might be harder to retain workers and non-profit employees in the future.

"It's like why would we retain talent in these organizations if this feels like the thing that can happen to you again?"

But McDuffie is determined to stay open and recover as soon as the shutdown is over.

The shelter and crisis center also is accepting private donations.

“Right now we’re bursting at the seams as we always are, we have upwards of 40 families that are with us right now and that can change on any given day because again, we are the emergency shelter, our philosophy is to turn no one away,” McDuffie said.

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