Shiprock — The three domestic violence shelters on the Navajo Nation are hoping for help coping with budget shortfalls through three supplemental funding requests.
Navajo Nation Council delegate Jonathan Hale is sponsoring the three pieces of legislation to grant a total of $470,786 in supplemental funding from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance, or UUFB, to the domestic violence shelters.
Each bill was posted on the council's website for public review and comment before becoming eligible for the standing committee process starting today.
The Home for Women and Children in Shiprock is requesting $180,000, the Tohdenasshai Committee Against Family Abuse Inc. in Kayenta, Ariz. is requesting $210,000 and the Ama Doo Alchini Bighan Inc. in Chinle, Ariz. is requesting $80,786.
The UUFB is a "rainy day fund" to cover unexpected expenses.
The fund's balance is $30.2 million, according to the Office of the Controller.
The Home for Women and Children in Shiprock is one of two facilities on the Navajo Nation that operates 24 hours a day.
It can accommodate up to eight victims and 23 children but it has permission from the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency to accommodate up to 12 victims and 35 children if necessary, said the shelter's executive director Gloria Champion.
Sitting in her office on Monday, Champion explained that the shelter receives a mixture of funding from tribal, state and federal governments.
In previous fiscal years, the facility received $240,000 in federal funding, as administered by the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services, but is facing a shortage of $180,000 this year, she said.
The request for supplemental funding would cover operating expenses like transporting clients to and from medical appointments, social services offices and workforce development programs, as well as food and personal items.
The money would also cover the shelter's utility and insurance payments, building maintenance, and employee salaries, she said.
Champion said that 98 percent of the clients are Navajo and this is the first time in 20 years that the shelter has submitted this type of funding request.
"It is an important step for the tribe to help us," she said.
Like the Home for Women and Children, the Tohdenasshai Committee Against Family Abuse Inc. in Kayenta is also facing a budget shortage.
Elise Smallcanyon is the acting shelter director for Tohdenasshai and said the supplemental funding request would also go towards covering operating expenses.
The shelter saw its funding from the tribal, state and federal governments cut as well.
"We have to request for supplemental funding ... anyway we can," Smallcanyon said, then added that she was in the process of applying for grants from outside organizations.