The shutdown is leaving some East Tennessee domestic violence shelters strapped for cash and worried if they can stay open.

Many shelters rely heavily on reimbursement from federal grants to operate--to provide food, pay salaries and keep the lights on.

The shutdown puts that on pause.

"We're going to be able to operate til the end of January on the money we have right now," said Van Wolfe, the executive director of Safe Space of East Tennessee, a nonprofit shelter that provides refuge and outreach to those affected by domestic violence. 

Wolfe says 52 percent of Safe Space's operating budget comes from federal money.

"Doesn't take long to run through thousands of dollars when you've got staff payroll and operating expenses of three outreach offices and a 26-bed shelter," Wolfe said. "It's just, yeah, it makes us nervous."

During the month of December, Wolfe reports 29 people stayed at the Dandridge shelter for a total of more than 500 nights. She says the shelter is full most of the year. 

Safe Space isn't alone. 

Amy Dilworth, the executive director of the Family Justice Center in Knoxville, says some nonprofits are worried about how long they can last. 

Dilworth says the Justice Center has reserve funding for about four to six months should the shutdown last. 

She says issue of funding can really affect the clients in need. 

"What if they need a place to stay that's safe, and they need to get out of that home, and the shelter isn't there?" Dilworth said. 

"For a victim to not be able to immediately get into a shelter is literally a life-saving issue if she can't," Wolfe said. 

Wolfe refuses to close Safe Space despite lack of funding. She says they may have to take out a loan. 

"It's not even an option that we shut down, or we quit, or we layoff or we do vacations, it's just not," Wolfe said. 

Wolfe said you can help by calling your local lawmakers or donating. 

Helen Ross McNabb told 10News it has enough reserve funding to continue to operate as usual for months should the shutdown persist.