Hillsborough County commissioners had little choice but to end the county’s annual funding for the Family Justice Center, a nonprofit that offered one-stop services for domestic violence victims.
The center spent seven years helping thousands of victims but stumbled when its steady funding sources were forced to cut back during the economic downturn.
The center failed to develop other funding sources and found itself in debt and locked into a long-term building lease it couldn’t afford. An audit the county conducted while considering whether to extend $100,000 in funding revealed the poor financial management.
It’s not easy to cut funding for a cause as noble as helping the victims of domestic violence. But commissioners did their due diligence by calling for the audit, and they are looking out for the taxpayers by declining to fund an organization on shaky financial footing.
Commissioners want the county’s staff to identify options for spending the $100,000 on other services and programs that help domestic violence victims. Agencies such as the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and The Spring of Tampa Bay have been working to close the gaps left by the Justice Center’s absence.
“We are not abandoning domestic violence victims,” Commissioner Sandra Murman said.
By identifying more stable agencies for the funding, the county is making sure its money is properly spent.