This week the United Way of Rome and Floyd County announced their allocations decisions to the eight agencies that were invited to apply for funding through the Community Impact Grants.

Unfortunately, the United Way has made the decision not to fund Hospitality House for Women, Inc., the community’s only domestic violence provider. For 41 years Hospitality House has worked with survivors of family violence in Rome and Floyd County who are working to rebuild their lives after experiencing unthinkable trauma. The emergency shelter services provided by Hospitality House have been funded by the United Way for more than 25 years.

The Board and staff of Hospitality House understand and empathize with the need for the United Way to make some hard decisions as they reorganize their work in Rome and Floyd County. What is difficult to understand is the rationale behind choosing not to fund any program in Floyd County that provides shelter to our most vulnerable citizens.

The Community Impact Grant funding will not fund any of the three shelter providers nor will any funding be going to the one residential provider for youth in foster care.

The United Way had previously decided to only focus on locally governed non-profits as a way to target the impact that United Way funding has on this community. That decision resulted in one of the homeless shelters losing a significant funding stream. The recent allocations decisions will significantly impact the three shelter programs that were not funded.

Given the widespread community interest in better serving our homeless population in Rome and Floyd County, the thought process behind these decisions is bewildering.

Our agency is very disappointed by these decisions. We are very concerned about the impact that these decisions will have on the survivors served through our emergency shelter program. We are also concerned about the impact on our community partners who provide services to individuals experiencing poverty, housing insecurity and homelessness.

Hospitality House will now need to focus resources on fundraising that would have been used working directly with survivors of family violence.

Although we are very disappointed with results of this allocations process, we value our long relationship with the United Way of Rome and Floyd County and are grateful for the many years of financial support. We look forward to continuing our collaborative work through the Homelessness Task Force.

Lynn Rousseau

Hospitality House for Women, Inc.

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