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Domestic-abuse council seeks help to keep residential services

The Council on Domestic Abuse announced online that the residential services will be suspended Sept. 14, 2019. (WTWO Photo From Video)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Corinna Bush said a traumatic experience left her with nowhere to go until coming to the Council on Domestic Abuse shelter.

“Before I came here, I was in the woods for seven months,” Bush said.

According to Bush, the Council on Domestic Abuse (CODA) shelter for domestic abuse victims, sexual assault victims and other people seeking refuge helped her to regain confidence.

CODA began its operations in 1985 and has served an average of 230 adults and children at its Terre Haute shelter.

“Coda’s helped me tremendously to where I am right now. Before, I don’t think I could even speak in front of a camera,” she said.

Recently, CODA has seen a decline in state funding.

“In October of last year, we had to make a change to quarterly reimbursement claims. That meant instead of us having $50,000 in the bank, we’re required to have $150,000 in the bank,” said Sarah Campbell, executive director of CODA.

The change in their funding has created a big problem for the shelter.

“We’re in a position where we’re going to have to shut down nonresidential programming by Sept. 13. That’s the last night we’ll have all-night programming at the emergency shelter,” Campbell said.

The chance of the shelter closing is a shock to those who live at CODA’s shelter and work there.

“We’ve got people who are really really close to getting back on their feet and then we’re handed this news. It caused a bit of a panic last night and a lot of emotions,” said Christy McCullough, an employee with CODA.

Those with the shelter have found a solution that could keep it open.

The executive director said the agency organized a campaign to try to find 1,000 people to donate $150. That would equal “the reserve money that we need to keep operating,” Campbell said.

The residents have hope that saving the shelter is possible.

“They have a lot of optimism, like, we can do this. Our community will come together hopefully and keep our services open,” McCullough said.

If CODA does not raise the $150,000 by the Sept. 13 deadline, the agency could also cut in employees. The staff would go from 20 people to four.

If residential services are suspended, people seeking shelter can take advantage of CODA’s nonresidential services from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For the 37 residents the shelter houses now, CODA would have to find other places for the residents to go. According to Campbell, the other nearest shelters are in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Evansville.