HANNIBAL | AVENUES for Northeast Missouri has qualified for Fiscal Year 2021 Domestic Violence Tax Credit Program with the Missouri Division of Social Services (DSS).
AVENUES for Northeast Missouri chief executive Tamitha Ague said the tax credits will allow the agency to solicit more donors and obtain more funding.
“It's a great opportunity for a lot of businesses to solicit (donations), like General Mills, Watlow Heaters and Controls and DHL,” Ague said. “They have a lot of employees that may want to contribute at the end of the year for a tax credit, so it could actually open the doors for us.”
The Domestic Violence Shelter Tax Credit program allows for individuals and corporations who donate at least $100 to shelters approved by the DSS the ability to claim a 50% tax credit for the amount given. No more than $50,000 in credits can be claimed per year and the total amount of tax credits is capped at $2 million.
Ague said this new policy will allow the organization to have a broader donor base.
“It also gives us more money,” Ague said. “The more that we use those tax credits, the (DSS) credits us with additional fund to be able to utilize for resources.”
AVENUES for Northeast Missouri serves 11 counties to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. These counties include Adair, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Ralls, Schuyler, Scotland and Shelby.
Among the services offered by the agency includes a 24-hour hotline, safe and secure shelters, court and medical advocacy, crisis intervention, case management and referrals to related services.
AVENUES for Northeast Missouri has several sexual assault and domestic violence advocates that work with the agencies clients to get them out of dangerous situations.
“It falls down to the title of our agency, ensuring that victims have a safe place, a safe location and have the ability to feel safe moving forward,” Ague said. “If they need mental health services and different treatment programs, (we are) there to support them.”
With the additional funding, AVENUES is hoping to build new shelters for Hannibal and Kirksville.
Ague said AVENUES for Northeast Missouri had a big uptick in clients seeking help when summer hit.
“We only had three people in our shelter's service setting at the beginning of the coronavirus (pandemic) in March,” Ague said. “As of last month, we were up to 18 people, which is the max we can take.”
In cases where the shelter is full or the client lives in a rural area, the agency has agreements with local hotels to shelter victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
In 2019, AVENUES for Northeast Missouri served approximately 600 clients in eight counties. This year, the agency added Adair, Schuyler and Scotland counties.
Ague said she expects to serve at least 100 more clients in 2020 than last year.
“We hired two new staff (members) to be able to cover those additional counties and to be able to work with various organizations,” Ague said. “I look for us to definitely go up quite a bit (serving) those individuals in northeast Missouri.”
Anyone wanting to make a financial donation and receive a tax credit should send a check to AVENUES for Northeast Missouri, Inc., P.O. Box 284, Hannibal, MO 63401, and write in the memo line of the check a donation-tax credit.