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Government shutdown forces local rape crisis center to cut operating hours

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Center for Sexual Assault Survivors is cutting its operating hours due to the government shutdown.

The Center's normal 48-hour week, is now being cut to 32 hours a week. According to Executive Director Maricella Montoya Carter, cutting hours is the only way The Center can continue to provide help to survivors of sexual assault during the shutdown.

The Center for Sexual Assault Survivors in Newport News

"We have to pick and choose how we are going to cut back, where we are going to cut back and make sure that we are meeting our community's needs," explained Carter.

In a newsletter, Carter says 80 percent of the organization's funding comes from federal grants. With the ongoing shutdown, shortening hours is the only way they can continue to help survivors. The center is the only rape crisis location on the Peninsula. If they are unable to help, victims are left on their own.

Related: Government shutdown takes toll on higher education 

"If this service is not available when someone is in need on the Peninsula, who is going to provide it?" asked Carter. "This is affecting survivors. It won't affect the quality of service; it will affect how much time my staff can give."

The shorter work week will also affect the six full-time staff members at the center.

"As the Executive Director, as of the 16th I'm on furlough, but the staff will be paid," said Carter.

The Center is relying on donations and volunteers to help them continue services through the shutdown. For ways that you can help, visit The Center for Sexual Assault Survivors' website.

Click here for full government shutdown news

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