When they read that Lafayette House was losing $58,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, David and Debra Humphreys acted quickly.
“They were in our offices at 10 o’clock the next morning,” said Louise Secker, director of development for Lafayette House.
David Humphreys, president and CEO of Joplin’s TAMKO Building Products, and his wife, Debra, brought in a personal check worth $60,000, more than offsetting the budget cut HUD announced earlier this month.
“After we read that Lafayette House lost funding for their transitional housing program for women and children in need, Debra and I felt we should help,” David Humphreys said in a statement. “Our donation supports the extraordinary and valuable services they provide to victims of domestic violence in the Joplin area.”
HUD recently unveiled an initiative to move shelters toward finding clients long-term housing opportunities first, cutting out what it called “transitional housing,” which commonly took place while shelters such as Salvation Army helped clients deal with issues such as job loss or substance abuse. The organization followed through on its initiative by cutting some funding it provided to shelters for temporary housing in the form of grants.
That model left organizations like Lafayette House “in a pinch,” Secker told the Globe at the time. Lafayette House provides temporary shelter and a safe place for victims of domestic violence, primarily women and children. Still, since it fit into the category of transitional housing, the almost $60,000 it received from HUD on an annual basis was cut.
Secker said the funding largely went to overall operations costs for Lafayette House since transitional housing is its main focus. She said without the funding, workforce reductions were possible and employees would have to scramble to replace the funds through other grants.
A ceremony was held at Lafayette House on Tuesday as a way to publicly thank and recognize the Humphreys family for their donation, said Alison Sunday, executive director of Lafayette House.
“In what community would somebody hear about something—we never asked the Humphreys to do this—this was their thoughts, ‘Well let’s make up the difference.’ That’s awesome,” Sunday said.
Jennifer Reeves, president of the Lafayette House board of directors, said the cut had left the organization scrambling to figure out how to either raise the money by other means or cut costs.
“It takes a lot of stress off of their shoulders and our shoulders as well,” she said. “We’ve been trying to rack our brains how to make this up, and this just gives us a breath.”