HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Losing a loved one is hard. It’s especially tough if the loss happens in a violent way. There’s a program that helps those who are left to deal with the aftermath of death due to violent crime.
The Homicide Survivors Program serves 13 counties in north Alabama. They’ve lost a lot of funding over the years due to state budget cuts, but all the while, they stick by those in need.
The pictures of people who are no longer here with us cover the hallway inside the Family Services Center, Inc. office in Huntsville. The harsh reality of death is something the Homicide Survivors Program deals with daily. Program Director Vickie Goodman says it’s a tough, but necessary job.
"It’s important because the grief that’s associated with murder or vehicular homicide is different than your grief that comes from losing someone to a natural death or a death that’s expected," explains Goodman. "It’s what we call complicated grief.”
As complicated as it may be, the program aims to make sure friends and family members of loved ones aren’t alone in their suffering.
"We provide grief support and counseling, both in an individual setting and a group setting” says Goodman. "We also do judicial advocacy which means we can go to court with them and support them through the actual murder trial.”
The group also holds two main events each year for clients to honor the person or persons they’ve lost. One is a Christmas candle light ceremony. The other is a vigil held during National Crime Victims week in the spring.
Of course, all of these services come at a cost and the money the program receives from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is tight.
"We received a significant cut last year," says Goodman. "We received another significant cut this year. Funding is always an issue with any non-profit organization. It’s certainly an issue here too.”
WHNT NEWS 19 can certainly help out a little. We presented Goodman with $319.
"I’m going to cry,” says Goodman, as she thanked us.
Goodman says the money will go a long way.
"A small but significant amount of money can address someone’s personal need," says Goodman. "A need for food perhaps. Maybe they’ve been out of work because of the loss of someone they love. You’d be amazed at how much we can do to stretch a few dollars. We’re really good at that.”
The Homicide Survivors Program has been serving clients in north Alabama for 14 years. Beginning November 4th, the Family Services Center will move. The new facility is located at 4092 South Memorial Parkway, Suite 205 in Huntsville. The new location is in the Hutcheson Center. The phone number, (256) 551-1610, will remain the same.