County OKs $600K donation to women’s center

A $600,000 donation approved by Hays County Commissioners July 16 provides funding for the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center (HCWC) over the next two fiscal years.
The donation, approved by a 4-0 County Commissioner vote, will increase the HCWC’s operations budget to more than $3 million. County Judge Ruben Becerra was not present at the meeting and did not vote. The city of San Marcos is expected to fund $400,000 to the HCWC in the near future.
Formed in 1978, the HCWC has served and supported victims of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. A 15% increase in cases in 2019 compared to the previous year led the organization to seek crucial funding agreements to facilitate the growing need of its services.
The funding will help build additional housing units and classrooms for victims and their families which will help provide a safe place for those individuals.
HCWC Executive Director Marla Johnson said single mothers have a harder time finding affordable housing in the county. Subsequently, these victims often return to the violent environments they fled.
“So, during this formative time for these young children, they’re growing up in a violent home,” Johnson said. “We’re hoping to give them another alternative.”
Johnson said the project meets a desperate need and focuses on families with young children.
The HCWC has partnered with Community Action, Home Aid, a branch of the Austin Home Owners Association to reduce costs of the project and other local agencies.
The HCWC plans to construct one four bedroom, 12 three-bedroom and two one-bedroom apartments for the project, Johnson said. With these additional housing units, it can reduce the chances of women and children returning to violent homes.
All members of the court praised the efforts of the HCWC. Hays County Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe commended the HCWC staff for the work they do to keep families safe.
“It’s unfortunate we have to have these services, but it’s a reality, so we really appreciate all you guys do,” Ingalsbe said.
Commissioners are hopeful that the funding agreement motivates other local government entities to follow suit.
Lon Shell, Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner, said it was the county’s duty to help fund the efforts of the organization to keep the communities of Hays and Caldwell counties safe.
Shell said the funding agreement will span through 2021, guaranteeing funding for two fiscal year cycles.
“I think it’s a very exciting project for Hays County, Caldwell County and the city of San Marcos,” Shell said. “I’ve been out there to see some of the services they provide and it’s truly something special to have…”

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