Voices of the staff have been the missing component in the discussion about Survivors’ closing, according to Rachel Haynes Pinsker, the director of legal services at the Claudia McCarthy Legal Center.
Staff members were given two-weeks’ notice that Survivors Inc., the local domestic violence nonprofit, was closing its doors and did their best “to make appropriate arrangements,” Pinsker said Wednesday at the commissioners’ meeting.
“This has been a nightmare and saying that is an understatement,” Pinsker said of the situation.
Pinsker said she believes Survivors shut down “not because of one person or one event” but from “something that occurred over a significant period of time.”
Pinsker has worked in four other Pennsylvania counties and with other domestic violence programs, noting she knows how they operate.
“It would be foolhardy to blame what happened on PCADV (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence,” Pinsker said, noting PCADV was just one of multiple agencies funding Survivors.
PCADV is the state contractor for domestic violence services, and with state and federal pass-through dollars, partially funds, as subrecipients, 59 nonprofit domestic violence programs across the commonwealth, according the organization’s release.
PCADV does not provide services directly, but “we have a responsibility” to make sure services are available in every county, PCADV spokesperson Julie Bancroft said.
“Survivors’ failure should fall on everyone’s shoulders,” Pinsker said, not just PCADV.
PCADV and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crimes and Delinquency assisted with funding payroll for Survivors through the end of June, according to Pinsker.
“No one else did that. Staff continued working without pay because they care what happened to the clients,” Pinsker said.
Bancroft said PCADV has employed three existing shelter staff and four from the legal center through Sept. 30 to assist with the transition.
Staff will continue to provide arrangements for emergency housing, emergency hotline, legal services including assistance in filing for protection from abuse (PFA) orders, and supportive services. All Survivors Inc. staff will operate out of the Claudia McCarthy Legal Center” at 18 Carlisle St. in Gettysburg, according to a PCADV press release.
“PCADV will release a request for proposals (RFP) for a long-term provider of domestic violence services in Adams County to assume services effective Oct. 1, 2019 or sooner. This plan will ensure continuous services are available Adams County residents who are experiencing domestic violence,” according to the release.
The RFP will be for “core services,” Bancroft said. Those include shelter, counseling, a hotline, education about options in the legal system, and more, she said.
Bancroft said the Claudia McCarthy Legal Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Those of us still at Survivors are there because we can’t walk away because we have clients to assist,” Pinsker said.