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Profile: Emmonak Women’s Shelter

The Emmonak Women’s Shelter has been operating for 34 years and uses Yupik language and culture as the backbone of its program to protect women and children. But the shelter’s call volume and caseload has jumped this summer, just as their bank account has nearly run dry.

Lynn Hootch was the shelter’s director from 1993 to 2005. She now works with the Yupik Women’s Coalition in Emmonak, and often returns to help out with the shelter. She says the shelter hasn’t received any state funding since 2005, and a federal grant that was supposed to last until September is nearly gone. She adds that the shelter’s costs are hard to control when women arrive with nowhere to go, and have to stay at the shelter for months on end.

But now, new funding is making its way to the shelter from an unlikely source: an article printed in the New York Times this past Tuesday highlighted the plight of the shelter, and now, Hootch says pledges of support and donations are flooding the shelter’s Facebook page and PayPal account. The publicity has also opened channels of communication with other agencies in Alaska and beyond.