Safety is number one priority for Hope Crisis Center

YORK – Carmen Hinman has spent the last 25 years of her life leading the Hope Crisis Center team, in an effort to protect women and children who have been in abusive situations.

“And I say with certainty that safety is our number one priority,” Hinman told the York County Commissioners this week, as she met to discuss their work and make her annual financial request.

Hope Crisis Center is one of several independent entities that receive funding from the counties they serve. If the agency didn’t exist, the county would be tasked with providing that service, which has been the justification of tax dollars going for certain outside agencies.

Emergency shelter is one of the agency’s priorities. “Our job is to listen to them, assess the situation and make a safety plan,” Hinman explained. “A victim will often leave their batterer multiple times before that final break and leaving their homes.” She said in these situations, there are often “bridges burned” with their other relationships, “and it’s our job to be there.”

“Housing is unbelievable right now,” Hinman said of limited availability, “and it’s very difficult to find places for people to go. We are seeing shelter stays become much longer than they used to be.”

The Hope Crisis office used to be housed with the Child Advocacy Center. Due to the inclusion of a medical clinic at the CAC, the Hope Crisis office here has been moved to the basement of the Red Couch Counseling facility.

Hope Crisis serves York, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Seward and Thayer Counties.

In the last year, they served 616 people. Of those, 123 were children. Forty-seven people were provided with emergency shelter. And they responded to 4,160 hotline calls.

In the area of sexual assault advocacy, 55 victims of sexual assault were served; 31 required medical advocacy; four forensic exams were completed; and they provided 19 Title IX campus services.

It was noted that while they receive donations from churches, organizations and individuals, the county contributions are extremely necessary to continue their services. That’s especially true as state and federal dollars have dwindled in the last year.

They are asking for $14,605 from the county in the next fiscal year.

“Not everyone can do what you do, and we thank you,” said Commissioner Daniel Grotz.

“It’s sad these issues exist in our community,” added Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier. “This service is very much needed.”

The county’s contribution will be decided during the annual budget formulation process.

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