10/24/06 — Shelter's trustees examine operation

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Shelter's trustees examine operation

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 24, 2006 1:48 PM

The safehouse has remained open, but the administrative offices of The Lighthouse of Wayne County Inc. have been closed since Oct. 13.

They will re-open Monday at their East Walnut Street location.

Cathy Best, a member of The Lighthouse Board of Directors, explained that the offices were "temporarily closed for restructuring of the organization."

On the advice of the board's attorney, however, no further details regarding the nature of the restructuring or the reason for the restructuring were released. The board is expected to address the concerns behind the closure and reorganization later this week.

But during the two weeks the offices have been closed, board member Cindy Sanford stressed, The Lighthouse has continued in its mission to serve victims of domestic violence, just like it has since opening in 1981.

"The safehouse is open and housing clients. The telephones are being manned by a 24-hour on-call representative. We are in close contact with our funders and are working together to continue to offer these much needed services to the citizens of Wayne County," she said. "We apologize for the inconvenience, but will continue to serve our local community."

One of those funders is the United Way of Wayne County, which provides 14 percent of The Lighthouse's total budget.

"We continue to support the need for a domestic violence program," United Way Executive Director Steve Parr said.

However, he continued, after the temporary closing of the offices and the news of the restructuring, United Way needs to see a plan of action from Lighthouse to ensure the organization's level of funding matches the level of programming being offered. Because United Way funds programs on a monthly basis, the Lighthouse has already been funded for October. If there is no plan in place by Nov. 1, Parr said, however, that funding will be suspended.

"We are anxious to hear from them what their plan is. We need to hear what their plan is before we make a decision about their funding for the rest of the year," Parr said. "We need assess whether the level of programming has been changed, and if it has, we need to revisit (our funding). We need to know what we're investing in."

The Lighthouse's thrift store also has been closed and the candlelight vigil and poster contest have been postponed.

To reach the on-call representative, call 736-1313 and press 0.