DTE Foundation awards $17K grant to LACASA to offset COVID-19 costs

The DTE Energy Foundation recently awarded LACASA Center a $17,000 grant to help the agency offset unexpected costs related to COVID-19.

LACASA, located in Livingston County, is an independent nonprofit organization that provides critical 24-hour services for victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.

The DTE foundation dispersed $1 million in grants across 45 domestic violence shelters in Michigan to help ease financial strains caused by the pandemic.

Domestic violence agencies throughout the state are struggling to meet a surging demand for services and to cover new expenses driven by the virus. These unexpected expenditures include, among other factors:

  • Hotel costs due to reduced shelter bed counts (safety guidelines have restricted shelter capacities by nearly 50 percent statewide)
  • Additional off-site meals for hoteling families
  • Safety protocol costs for masks, gloves, thermometers, and sanitization supplies

“This has been a daunting year for us.” said LACASA President and CEO, Bobette Schrandt. “From June to October, we provided nearly 1,200 nights of hoteling and more than 3,500 off-site meals for victims and their children who could not stay in our shelter due to capacity restrictions.

“Once the shelter-in-place mandate lifted, we started to see an upward spiral,” Schrandt said. “Not only in the number of abuse victims seeking immediate shelter, but also in the number of suspected child abuse cases.”

According to Schrandt, the number of local suspected child abuse cases skyrocketed between June and October.

“Our Child Abuse Response Effort (CARE) experienced a 230 percent increase in child abuse investigations,” said Schrandt. “In one week alone, our CARE team conducted nine child abuse forensic interviews, which is unheard of.”

The agency also saw an increase in victims of abuse or assault seeking assistance from its legal advocates. “Victims coming to us for help with filing Personal Protection Orders tripled this year,” Schrandt said.

“In every area of our organization, we have experienced a dramatic increase in victims reaching out to us for help. We are grateful to the DTE Energy Foundation for this generous grant award,” said Schrandt. “Every act of support right now makes a difference in the lives of abuse victims from our community.”

LACASA is the only agency of its kind in the state—and one of just a few in the nation—that provides comprehensive wrap-around services for all victims of abuse under one roof. This far-sighted approach enables victims and their children to receive the support and resources they need at one secure location.

All services offered at LACASA are provided free of charge for victims and their families. It is the belief of LACASA’s Board of Directors that “safety has no price,” and that no victim should be turned away to due economic circumstances.

“Our essential services for victims and their families are always open,” said Schrandt. “We are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for victims and their families.”

To learn more about LACASA Center, or to donate, visit lacasacenter.org.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

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