KOCO: Federal funding running out after Palomar serves record number of Oklahomans
By: Alyse Jones
Published: November 17, 2023
OKLAHOMA CITY — A family justice center providing services for victims of abuse and crime said it has seen a record number of clients needing services.
Palomar served nearly 3,000 new clients through federal funding last year. But that funding is running out, according to the center.
In 2022, that was our highest year ever, and last we looked, we are on track to surpass that number in 2023,” Anden Bull, the chief operating officer of Palomar, said.
A federal grant through the Victims of Crime Act helps fund these services. The funding also helped Palomar find housing and shelter for 421 Oklahomans in need.
“A lot of the shelters are full, so we have to utilize our emergency services to help make sure we’re keeping clients off the streets whenever possible,” Bull said.
As the number of domestic violence cases increase, so does the number of people speaking out, Palomar said.
“Sometimes we see clients coming here, and someone’s told them to come, and they don’t know why. They may be really confused, or they’ve tried to leave so many times throughout their life, and they finally have the courage to do it,” Bull said.
Yet Bull said more than 70% of cases go unreported. As numbers continue to rise, federal funding is running low.
“That pot of money is just quickly dwindling, and I think they’re forecasting that it’ll continue to do so,” Bull said. “There’s a continued need in our community, and we’re still missing a lot of people.”