Closing is unfortunate sign of times

Published 12:57 am Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Efforts to trim the fat on a national and state level are having lasting effects in communities everywhere – ours included.

I’m not one to discus politics in my column, but I was quite dismayed when I heard about the closing of the Opp women’s domestic abuse shelter, Opportunity House, because of the lack of funding.

Director Deborah Hooks has said and this newspaper reported that the closing of the shelter was a possibility if additional funding wasn’t raised. Year after year, grant funds were cut, leaving the local community to pick up the tab to allow battered women and children a place to get their lives back into order.

Now that closure prediction is true.

Opportunity House isn’t the only organization that has felt the trim of the scissors. Funding for the 22nd Circuit Drug Task Force was cut, but local law enforcement was grateful to know that, at least, it wasn’t cut out all together like in other counties.

Have you tried to pay a speeding ticket or get a passport from the circuit clerk’s office lately? Don’t try it on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon, or you’ll be greeted not by a smiling clerk, but by a drop box and silver roll-down. Why, one might ask? Revenue shortfalls.

A visit to the driver’s license office means a trip on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

There’s now a cap on federal Pell grants – something that I know students nationwide cringe when they find out.

All those reductions are because of funding issues.

Now, I’m not blaming anyone or pointing the finger. I’m simply pointing out that some of the things we’ve taken for granted in the past aren’t available anymore and others are likely to follow in their stead.

There’s no bringing them back, either.

We’ve all had to do things to tighten our belts. I cut out HBO, deciding I’ll spend $40 on the next season of my show at Wal-Mart over spending that extra money each month. We get one eat-out experience a month, usually to the yogurt shop. Forget tooling about town, visiting the shops. We’re all about sales and making do with what we have until there is a giant need.

But I’m afraid that there will now be people who are missing those critical services – like the families who will need Opportunity House in the future.

There’s no easy solution or any way to change what has happened in the past, but we do need to pay more attention to pleas like the one issued from Opportunity House. One never knows when we might be the ones in need.