Kansas City shelter could close without merger

Saturday, August 23, 2008 | 6:54 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY - A domestic violence shelter says it will have to close its doors if a merger with another group doesn't come through.

The board of the Don Bosco Centers on Monday will consider the possible merger with Newhouse, a domestic violence shelter that served 600 women and children last year.

"If that does not work out, we will be closing," said Leslie Caplan, Newhouse president.

Don Bosco offers a number of programs and services at six centers, including a charter high school.

"Don Bosco is always looking for ways to better serve the community," a spokeswoman for the centers, Jennifer Anthony, said. "Newhouse has provided a really important service to our community."

Anthony said many of the young people staying at Newhouse had participated in Don Bosco programs and attended the charter school.

Newhouse was started by three Methodist and Presbyterian churches in 1971 as a food pantry, clothes closet and place that offered GED classes. The domestic violence shelter opened in 1978, Caplan said.

Caplan said the shelter has suffered a drop in donations, and Jim Feller, Newhouse board chairman, said the shelter also has been affected by shrinking grant funding, timing of grant payments and increased competition for government grants.

"We are saddened to have to give up this fight that so many have fought for years before us to ensure that women and children - the poorest of the poor - had a safe place to live," Fuller said in a written statement. "We simply have no other options at this time."

Caplan said Newhouse moved its 72 women and children to other area shelters Friday amid concerns that staff might start leaving to look for other work.



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