Tralee Crisis Center pursues $160,000 in extra funding

The staff at the Tralee Crisis Center in Pampa is dealing with an increase workload as more clients are being referred to them this summer (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

The Tralee Crisis Center in Pampa is experiencing a spike in the demand for resources and services it provides to victims of violent crimes. The non-profit started helping victims in 1984 and is now providing help for people in eight counties in the eastern Texas Panhandle.

In June, the center picked up 57 new clients. That’s on top of the continuing victims they provide services for. The spike in new clients in one month is the most the executive director Dee Dee Laramore has seen in more than ten years.

“As far as staffing, it stretched us thin, to the limit where we had one staff member that had to drive more than 1,000 miles,” said Dee Dee Laramore, executive director Tralee Crisis Center. “She had to do that in the month of June to meet with all the different new clients.”

The staff member, Cassie O’Brien, is a child & victim advocate. She drove 1,085 miles up from an average of 200 miles she would normally travel taking clients to and from appointments.

“It’s a lot of road travel and sometimes your transporting client’s day and night,” said Cassie O’Brien, Child & Victim Advocate. “It entails me going to a town to pick them up, take them to their appointment in Amarillo and then taking them back to where they live at. Then back to the office so it can be an entire day.”

The increase in new clients is one reason why the non-profit is seeking a Victim Of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. The Tralee Crisis Center will find out in October if it has been approved for an additional $160,000 in funding through the Criminal Justice Division. If approved, the grant will help fund hiring more employees and getting new resources.

“We’re applying for an increase that will go into effect in October,” said Laramore. “We hope to add new people to our staff and get a new vehicle. The current vehicle we’re using is 16 years old.”

Laramore tells ABC 7 News is more people came forward to report domestic violence and sexual assault they’re case load would at least double maybe triple. She cites people being afraid or embarrassed for why more victims don’t come forward.

“It’s hard for people to truly recognize what’s truly happening,” said Laramore. “Just coming to talk to us can be a challenge but if people need help or want to talk we are here for them. This way they can come and talk to us and we can help them find out what’s happening to them.”

In 2018, the budget is increasing to $600,000 for the Tralee Crisis Center. Laramore tells ABC 7 News they’re seeing more people who are bilingual. The staff at Tralee Crisis Center consists of 13 paid employees and 20 volunteers. The clients they help live in Carson, Childress, Collingsworth, Donley, Gray, Hemphill, Roberts and Wheeler counties.

The non-profit is funded by federal and state grants and donations from foundations or citizens. A 24-hour hotline number (806) 669-1788 toll free 1-800-658-2796.

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