MANKATO — Summer is the usual time when Victoria Salas, executive director of LA-MANO Inc., makes budget plans for the multicultural organization that provides services throughout the south-central part of the state.
She figures in the costs of providing bilingual advocates in emergency rooms and in legal systems, offering community education and for continuing its support groups and crisis line.
Salas was busy Monday reworking plans to include major cost-cutting measures, including staff reductions and a move downtown, where LA-MANO will share office space with a non-profit organization that serves the region’s immigrants from Africa.
The adjustments are necessary after a regular source used for its Crime Victim’s Empowerment Project became unavailable to LA-MANO.
The program’s budget for 2013 is 61 percent less than what was available for 2012.
For the past 10 years, LA-MANO had consistently relied on grants of about $78,000 from the Office of Justice Programs, a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety .
When a tentative list of OJP grants was announced for the coming fiscal year, LA-MANO was not listed among the potential recipients.
Because of cuts to its $32 million budget, the Office of Justice Programs has about $1.5 million less than it previously could provide for grants.
“Many budgets cuts were made across the state, we weren’t alone,” said Tricia Hummel, director of justice and community grants.
LA-MANO is among the 12 to 16 previously funded programs that will not be receiving grants.
“It’s unfortunate that cuts had to be made. Many good programs were not able to be funded,” said Hummel.
Program location was one factor that determined on which programs would not be recipients. “It’s spread out across the state,” Hummel said.
OJP also initiated a point system to help decide which organizations would receive grants.
LA-MANO had been receiving funding since 1997 and had always been in compliance with the funder’s regulations and had always put the majority of funding into providing direct services, Salas said.
Its Crime Victim’s Empowerment Project is one of the programs LA-MANO created because of gaps of service, she said. Crime victims in Blue Earth and Nicollet counties receive support in cases involving domestic violence, assaults, accident claims, harassment, fraud and bias/hate crimes.
LA-MANO partners with other groups to provide victim services to the ethnic population.
In Southern Minnesota, the minority population increased by 75 percent from 2000 to 2010. The highest increase of minorities is Latinos, that population increased by 68 percent between 2000 and 2010.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Nicollet County’s Latino population increased 129 percent. Blue Earth County had a 61 percent increase.
LA-MANO is a valuable resource to south central Minnesota communities and it needs support in order to continue to provide services to victims of violence, said Liz Richards, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. Richards expressed support for the member organization by composing an open letter dated Aug. 6.
One of the primary funding sources for its member programs is the state of Minnesota, Richards said. Four other programs that are coalition members also lost all of their state funding.
In addition to the reduction in funds, the OJP’s new grant process makes more programs eligible to apply for funding. The result, more programs competing for substantially less dollars, Richards said.
The Committee Against Domestic Abuse in Mankato is one of the agencies that made the tentative list of OJP grantees for its 2013 Fiscal Year. Final approval of funding is expected in about 30 days. CADA stands to receive total of $1,073,466 for four branches of services.