nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Archives | Subscribe

Local News arrow Alex Bridges arrow Front Royal

| 0

Harmony Place financial struggles continue

Melissa Domenico-Payne, executive director of Harmony Place in Front Royal, stands in one of the emergency shelter areas inside their East Main Street building. Harmony Place has begun a campaign to raise $150,000 so the agency can meet its obligations while waiting to sell the building. Alex Bridges/Daily

By Alex Bridges

FRONT ROYAL -- A shelter for domestic violence victims continues to struggle financially as the nonprofit agency tries to find a new home.

Front Royal-based Harmony Place began a campaign to raise $150,000 that Executive Director Melissa DeDomenico-Payne said Thursday would help the organization keep its financial footing while they try to sell their building and wait for grant money.

The agency serves hundreds of people each year through its 24-hour hotline, advocacy and child-abuse programs, emergency shelter and other programs.

But Harmony Place has endured recent cuts in funding that led to staff layoffs.The shelter was forced to shut down its thrift store, Second Chance, several months ago.

As with other similar organizations, Harmony Place receives "reimbursement grants," meaning that the agency must spend the money first and then await payment from the granting source.

"We have to wait to pay any bills until we get our grant disbursements ... anywhere from two months to four months after we've already spent the money," DeDomenic-Payne said.

Harmony Place also has requested that the Warren County Board of Supervisors give the agency an advance of $19,000 already allocated in fiscal 2014 budget.

DeDomenico-Payne said the advance would help Harmony Place pay some of its bills so it could then receive grants. However, Harmony Place needs the "Band-aid" sooner than July 1 when the fiscal year begins, she said.

Harmony Place must first secure a buyer for its current location on East Main Street in Front Royal before it can pick another site, DeDomenico-Payne said. Harmony Place needs to find a smaller space now that its operations take up roughly a third of the nearly 18,000-square-foot area it owns. Harmony Place could operate in a space of about half the size or slightly larger, she said.

Until then, the organization expects to spend about $7,000 per month on utility bills and mortgage payments, DeDomenico-Payne said. Harmony Place does not receive grant reimbursements for its mortgage payments.

Harmony Place has seen some interest in its property, but the organization reduced the price in an effort to attract a buyer.

The nonprofit organization began operations in 1980. Harmony Place offers services and programs to men, women and children affected by domestic violence. Services include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, rapid rehousing, crisis intervention, counseling, criminal justice system advocacy, children's psycho-educational activities, advocacy through the health system for victims of sexual violence, assistance with food and supplies and more.

DeDomenico-Payne said people have suggested Harmony Place cut staff to save money, but explained that cutting staff equates to eliminating programs.

Likewise, not all expenses come as expected. Harmony Place spent $20,000 two years ago to fight off an infestation of bed bugs.

Harmony Place and other agencies in the area that provide shelter and received funds for transitional housing suffered a major blow when the federal government changed the focus of its grant programs.

Harmony Place operates on an annual budget of approximately $500,000, said DeDomenico-Payne, about two-thirds of which goes to cover staff salaries and benefits.

The Front Royal agency fell into the same predicament as the Alliance for Shelter in Shenandoah County and other organizations when the federal government shifted its funding to shelters that focused on permanent rather than transitional housing.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.

Local News Sections

Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Breaking News Briefs Business Charities Civil War Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mt. Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Quicksburg Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Sally Voth School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Toms Brook Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Homes | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

2013 Virginia Press Association Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com