Funding Cuts, Shifts, Leave Some Domestic Shelters Scrambling to Stay Afloat on Navajo Nation

Special to the Times | Ray Landry
Finance manager Theresa, left, Outreach Advocate Mavis, Advocate Schenoah, Lead Advocate Sandy and Carmelia, shelter director, meet in the reception area of the Tohdenasshai Shelter on May 29.

Published June 3, 2018

CHINLE, Ariz. – On June 5, Ama dóó Alchíní Bighaan, Central Agency’s only domestic violence program, will turn 21.

In those two decades, executive director Lorena Halwood has seen the drugs on the reservation get harder, the assaults more frequent and intense — and her funding dwindle.

But, always, one grant or another would come through or the tribe would step in just in time to save the program.

This year, though … it’s been something else. Like a lot of 21-year-olds, ADABI is waking up to the sound of snipping apron strings.

The Victims of Crime grant from Arizona Department of Public Safety — we didn’t get it,” Halwood said, ticking off her usual funding sources. “The Arizona Department of Health Services grant — we’ve had it for years, and we didn’t get it. The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission grant — we have yet to hear.”

The tribe came through, but not like it has in the past, when the program could expect an influx of $80,000 or so.

“All we got from the Navajo Nation was $64,000,” lamented Halwood. “I almost had a breakdown. How can we run a program on $64,000?”

The answer is, you just do.

ADABI has laid off four staffers since October. The office is manned by Halwood and two half-timers, one of whom works in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The program’s eight volunteers, whom Halwood calls “just wonderful,” have stepped up to fill the gaps.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published by the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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