Domestic violence center may close

By JACKIE RIPLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published January 24, 2008

TAMPA - There are no villains in the story of a beleaguered domestic violence center about to close its doors in Tampa, only victims.

"I don't blame anybody," said Nikki Daniels, executive director of the Family Justice Center on N Florida Avenue. "All the different funding agencies keeping us alive are getting cut."

The center, modeled after a U.S. Department of Justice program and funded by a $1.1-million startup grant, opened in October, 2006. Since then, it has seen 2,297 families in crisis, providing everything from counseling and food stamps to emergency housing and medical care.

But that's about to end because itwasn't able to attract local money to keep operating.

"I think this whole issue of budget cuts not only hurts a lot of programs but particularly those affected by violence and abuse," said Tampa City Council member Tom Scott, whohelped fund the agency while serving on a the County Commission. "It raises the question once again, are the cuts warranted when so many people are experiencing such a negative impact?"

Daniels said the center needs $350,000 to stay open through September, and unless a miracle occurs, counselors will see their last clients Jan. 30. "There's always hope," she said. "But at this point we can't stay open unless there's a miracle."

Jackie Ripley can be reached at ripley@sptimes.com or at 813269-5308.

Fast facts

How to help

Anyone wishing to donate to the center can call (813) 935-2015 or visit its Web site at www.fjchc.org