Senator Lisa Murkowski today expressed her deep gratitude to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for working with her to come to the aid of the Emmonak Women's Shelter, delivering $50,000 to compensate for a funding gap putting the center's operations in peril. The center --burdened with a work load of up to 500 women and children annually -- was low on funds months before the next federal grant money would have been available in September. At Senator Murkowski's request, the center and the BIA have worked together and an agreement should be finalized today.
"Every year Alaskans come together to "Choose Respect' and fight the epidemic of abuse in our state," said Murkowski. "I thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs for working with me to allow these men and women to continue protecting and serving some of the most vulnerable Alaskans."
In a June 11th letter (attached), Senator Murkowski communicated the urgent need to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of Interior, writing:
"I am extremely concerned that due to financial difficulties and limited resources, the Emmonak shelter may be forced to close its doors as early as mid-June Domestic violence shelters in remote rural areas of Alaska face a number of obstacles to maintaining sustainable operations such as severe inclement weather, exorbitant energy costs and costly relocation expenses of moving families from abusive homes into shelters."
As the ranking Republican on the Interior Appropriations Committee -- overseeing the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- Senator Murkowski was able to direct the agency's attention to this critical situation quickly so they could make federal resources available to the shelter so it can remain open until other resources become available.