FOX 13: Family Justice Center’s Last Plea for Funding

TAMPA (FOX 13) – Pastor Michael Neely is praying for a miracle.

“I never thought we would literally be here at D-day closing down,” he said.

Pastor Neely of New Millennium Community Church helped survivors of domestic violence at the Family Justice Center. It was a place for survivors to come and receive help with almost everything under one roof.

“I’ve assisted a lot of people here, but these rooms are basically empty now,” he pointed out.

The center needed an additional $150,000 to stay open. The budget was cut in half by the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. Their last hope was with the County Commission, but they are waiting til the end of August to review financial reports.

“I’m going to remain involved in domestic violence with or without the Family Justice Center. It was just a lot easier with the Family Justice Center than without,” Neely said.

The Family Justice Center said they’ve helped save 11 thousand lives over the years. Waiting to hear from the county on funding will be too late. They’ve already closed their doors to future survivors and are shutting down their building. If they were to receive funding, they say it would cost more to re-open with a new building.

“This has been the worst possible time for us. We’re trying to get all this done and we don’t have a home yet,” said Susan Jacob.

Jacobs runs Wheels of Success they give help working people with their cars and even give them away to needy families if nominated by their employer. Wheels of Success isn’t just packing up they are looking for a new place to call home while preparing to give 25 cars away.

“The sad thing is the time we are spending on looking for space could be spent on funding and getting more cars out,” Jacobs said.

They showed up at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting to make one final plea for help.

“The Family Justice Center is a blessing to Hillsborough County,” one woman said during public comment.

But, they didn’t get a response. Pastor Neely’s office is packed up, but he has one box left out on his desk symbolizing hope.

“I hope that someone, an angel would come through and keep this place open,” he said.

The County will have an answer for The Family Justice Center at the end of the month. In the meantime they’re referring survivors of domestic violence to the Springs of Hillsborough County.

FOX 13