"Arbor House" in "Skeleton Mode"
They say they're in "skeleton mode" with staff. Some employees are even working without getting paid; but even with dedicated volunteers, Gainesville's "Arbor House" may soon be closing it's doors, leaving homeless mothers and children again without a home.
"I could not have done it without them, I really couldn't," said Cacy Cunkle of Palm Coast, who came to "Arbor House," when she had nowhere else to go.
"I know my son is taken care of now, and I made that choice, and they helped me through it," she said.
Today, a little over a year later, Cunkle's son has been adopted by a Texas family, but the organization that's been Cunkle's life saver, is on its way under.
"We are not going to let them, just be homeless; we're not just going to kick them out on the streets," said Paula Clarkson, a board member.
The transitional housing community that's been helping women and their children for the past 28 years is struggling to keep the lights on.
"For the last couple of months, we've been having to postpone our payroll, and not been able to pay many of the employees," she said.
After recent lay-offs, the community, once operated by seven employees, is down to two part-timers.
"We've had fewer and fewer donations, and our grants have been dramatically reduced," she said.
The biggest hit came last year, when "Arbor House" lost $60,000 in grant funding, money they haven't recovered this year.
"No fault of our own. One of them, just no longer exists, another one changed their program, so we don't qualify for it," she said.
The executive board is now looking for places to put the four women and five children currently living there, so they're not back on the streets.
"I see the women here, and just know that this is giving them such a chance to do something better with their lives," she said.
For many of the women, they're losing more than a home.
"They've become my second family, when my real family rejected me, they stepped in, and made it real," said Cunkle.
At one time, "Arbor House" supported 20 women and children. The women received "life skills" classes, as well as outside help from agencies within the community.
Recently the organization has only been able to provide half the number of women and children with a roof over their heads and meetings with a social worker.
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