Maya Sanchez, KTLA News
ORANGE COUNTY-- 'I was in a very abusive, physically, emotionally abusive marriage. It had gotten so bad that I was fearing for my life.'
Those heart-wrenching words from the mother of three children who eventually fled her torment, and ended up at the 'Women's Transitional Living Center' in Orange County. It houses about 120 women and children, victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. But administrators say the state's budget woes may plunge the shelter into crisis, since most of its funding comes from Sacramento.
'We're hoping for an angel... an angel or angels who could come in and really save W.T.L.C.,' said Rocio Watson, the shelter's executive director.
Watson urges lawmakers to pass the budget, but in the meantime, she is hoping for a miracle to tide them over. She says W.T.L.C. hasn't been paid in three months and that the facility has already taken desperate measures just to stay afloat... laying off a dozen employees and draining its reserves. Their pantry is also running low on supplies.
The shelter's executive director says the facility only has ,000 dollars left. Not enough, she says, to operate a safe house that normally requires ten times that amount per month. Watson says W.T.L.C. needs ,000 in the next two weeks or it faces closure. And administrators say, since the shelter is a last resort for most victims, its closure could sentence some women and their children to the streets... or to something more familiar and potentially more dangerous... their abuser.
One former resident credits the shelter for helping her escape her abusive relationship, and earn back custody of her children. She fears what will happen if it shuts down.
'Without this place and their counseling... I would've ended up going back. I don't know. I'd probably be dead today. And I don't know where my son would be. It's scary. Some of the women here might not make it.'
Unless a state budget is passed, the shelter may close as early as September 15th.
To help, log onto www.wtlc.org.