Alleged theft of Eaton County shelter requires $300K in donations to remain open

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 3:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - Eaton County’s only domestic violence shelter might have to close.

SIREN/Eaton Shelter said a routine internal audit found theft, which has left the shelter struggling to keep its doors open. Since 1994, it has provided housing and essentials for people fleeing domestic violence.

Very little information about the theft is available right now. They don’t know how much was stolen, or who stole it, or over what period of time. That’s because this is a new development that is actively under investigation.

“This was something that we found out internally. So we weren’t being investigated by an outside source or agency. We found the discrepancy and we immediately reported it,” said Tracie Socey, Siren’s Volunteer Outreach Coordinator.

They’re now asking for the community’s help to stay open as a nonprofit that serves many.

Socey said it was something she never expected to find, “We were all in shock.”

SIREN/Eaton Shelter is a domestic violence shelter, but they all provide free essential items to roughly 100 homeless people a month. With more than 20 shelter units across the area, they said about 75% of their clients are children.

Now at the risk of closing, they said they have to raise $300,000 or sell their emergency shelter location to stay open.

“It’s really tight I’ll just say that, fund-wise. We need this GoFundMe to work,” Socey said. “The GoFundMe is kind of a band-aid to help us get through.”

According to information on the shelters’ GoFundMe page, “funding is limited and we are at risk of having to close our doors and end the supportive services that the most vulnerable in our community have grown to rely upon...the only avenue that we have that will afford us the ability to continue our current programming without interruption is to sell Opportunity House, our Domestic Violence Emergency Shelter site. This poses a great risk to the future of SIREN and the clients we serve ( of whom 65-75% are children) In order to save Opportunity House, we need to raise $300,000.00.”

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