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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / Weat County | Ventura

Cutbacks Threaten Family Center

September 29, 2000|KEVIN F. SHERRY

Because of state cutbacks, the Westside Family Center in Ventura is planning to move out of its current location and reduce programs and services.

For three years the Olive Street center, run by the Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, has provided its clients with services such as support groups, parenting classes, anger-management classes and counseling. A $200,000 operating grant from the state Department of Social Services was not approved this year, said Vickie Weiner, the group's executive director.

"It didn't make it out of appropriation," Weiner said. "The program was not funded."

The center hopes to reopen in Ventura in a smaller facility, and clients will still have access to the agency's Oxnard office, said Gina Gutierrez, the coalition's spokeswoman.

"We're trying to reassure them that we're going to be there still, in a smaller capacity," Gutierrez said. "We were totally funded by that grant."

The coalition has paid about $2,500 a month to lease a 2,000-square-foot space for the Ventura center, Weiner said. The grant runs out Saturday. Coalition officials have been working with the center's landlord to stay in the space until a less expensive location can be found, Weiner said.

"The space has not been rented," she said. "We'll stay open on a day-to-day basis. We continue to look for other grants and other assistance."

The coalition is looking for ways to transport clients from Ventura to its Oxnard offices, Weiner said.

"They're scared," she said. "There's anger: 'What are we going to do?' "

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