If it is true that challenges bring opportunities, then I can honestly say that ywca clark county has been teeming with opportunities this year! Like most organizations, the ywca has been dramatically impacted by the economic downturn. An increase in need for services and decrease in overall funding over the past two years has caused financial stress to ywca clark county. This imbalance of supply and demand has caused us to reexamine the services we provide and the way we provide them.
Over the last 12 months, our Board of Directors and lead staff have scrutinized our budget and programs like never before. The result was to trim our expenses by $437,000. As a service-oriented organization, nearly all budgetary trimming came in the form of staff hours, and since September of last year, six positions have been eliminated and/or not replaced and 36 positions have been reduced leaving only half of our staff working full-time.
Because ywca clark county provides life-saving services to people in crisis, the reduction in staff hours has had a profound effect on the way staff do their jobs. The reduced hours put many staff in the uncomfortable position of having to deny services to people in need simply because their hours had been spent for the week. Such expectations are neither healthy nor realistic for anybody.
So, we were faced with another big challenge: staff have limited hours but the community has limitless needs. How were we to create healthy boundaries for everyone? After much discussion, the solution became clear: close the Community Office on Fridays. By closing the office, staff would not be challenged to work more than their allotted hours and individuals in crisis would not wind up waiting in the lobby for an advocate to help.
Starting July 11th, 2011, the ywca’s Community Office will have new hours of operation. We will be open to the public Monday through Thursday from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm and closed on Fridays. Many programs will continue to be active on Fridays and available for emergency services and pre-scheduled appointments. Additionally, our SafeChoice Shelter will continue to operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week as will our sexual assault and domestic violence crisis hotline. We believe this is the best way to address the needs of the community while respecting our extraordinary staff.
The ywca clark county continues to be a strong organization – both idealistic and practical at the same time. Though we may fantasize about the day when we have too much funding or, better yet, too little need for services, we will continue to do our best work, serve as many people, with the resources we are so grateful to have.
Thank you for your continued support of our mission. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Strong Along. Fearless Together.