Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center furloughs workers because of funding cuts

The Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center of San Luis Obispo County has announced furloughs for the second and fourth Monday of each month because of cuts in federal and state grants, on top of recent fundraising efforts falling short.

The furloughs are effective immediately and will continue through June 25, according to a news release from the nonprofit group.

“The agency is taking all measures to ensure the continuity of its 24-hour crisis services, and we appreciate the public’s assistance and patience during this difficult time. We regret the circumstances that compel us to take such drastic measures,” SARP Center Executive Director Kristy McCray said in the statement issued Tuesday.

The center faces a $68,000 deficit for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which ends on June 30.

To help close that gap, the center is also using reserves and cutting costs by not replacing a full-time staffer who left in September, and trimming travel and office supply expenses, McCray said.

The center had already faced deficits of up to $20,000 in recent years.

McCray said in an email to The Tribune that the center must raise $10,000 more by June to avoid more furloughs or layoffs. But $20,000 would ensure no one is laid off and that furloughs would not be needed, she added.

During the furloughs, many SARP Center services such as educational presentations, counseling and office hours will not be available.

However, its 24-hour crisis line for survivors and loved ones, and its 24-hour accompaniment service for survivors to medical exams, law enforcement interviews, and court proceedings will still be available.

The SARP Center says it serves about 300 victims of sexual abuse, and 150 of their loved ones, per year.

Last year it gave more than 560 hours of clinical counseling to 64 clients, and did 329 rape-prevention education presentations before more than 2,740 people in San Luis Obispo County, according to the center.

Anyone who needs these services during furlough days can call 545-8888. For routine scheduled appointments or counseling, clients can leave a voice mail, and calls will be returned the next day. The center can also be reached by email at contact@sarpcenter.org.