Posted on March 17, 2014 at 10:10 am
State funding for survivors of domestic violence is in jeopardy! Take action this spring and let Pennsylvania legislators know that domestic violence should be a priority in the state budget.
At the state level, the budget process appropriates money from various state funding streams to state agencies and programs. The state budget includes a line item for funding domestic violence services, as well as a variety of other line items that support programs that serve survivors of domestic violence.
Each February, the Governor makes a budget proposal outlining the levels of funding the administration would like to see in the budget. This proposal is then passed on to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees which draft their own budget bills based on their own priorities.
Ultimately, the budget is introduced in the State House, and then sent to the Senate where it is usually amended and sent back and forth to the House for negotiation until the two chambers agree on a final budget bill.
The final budget agreement must be reached by June 30th of each year.
The Governor’s budget proposal which was released in February provides an increase to the domestic violence line item that results in an approximate 6% increase to statewide domestic violence funding.
While we are very grateful that the Governor prioritized an increase for this critical funding item, we also know that each day domestic violence providers in Pennsylvania have to turn away 900 survivors of domestic violence who are seeking services due to a lack of funding and capacity.
This gap is exacerbated by the overwhelming decreases that we have seen to the other funding items that provide support for domestic violence programs, such as Human Services Development Fund (which has been cut 62% since 2008) and Homeless Assistance Program (which has been cut 31% since 2008). Both of these funding line items provide critical resources to agencies like Women Against Abuse, and were unfortunately flat-funded in the Governor’s budget proposal this year – effectively locking in the cuts we have seen over the past 5 years.
It is critical to reach out to our legislators during the Appropriations process this spring so that they understand the intersection of line items that support domestic violence services, and request that they make domestic violence a priority.
Thank you for your support!
My name is ________ and I’m calling _________ (from Women Against Abuse – a domestic violence program in Philadelphia county; as a supporter of Women Against Abuse; from Philadelphia County; as a concerned citizen of Philadelphia; on behalf of the victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania).
I’m calling to request that you support the proposed increase for domestic violence funding in Governor Corbett’s budget as well as additional funding for homeless services in the budget process.
The cost of providing services AND the demand for services for survivors of domestic violence has increased. Programs have already cut staff and lost services for victims. Services depend not only on the domestic violence line item, but on support from Human Services Development Fund and Homeless Assistance Program, which combined have been cut in half since 2008.
We know that you care about domestic violence victims in our community. Please prioritize all human services in this year’s budget to ensure that we are able to sustain the current level of services for survivors of domestic violence. Thank you for your attention.