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  • ABC30 Central Valley

    Federal budget cuts impacting local agencies and resources for victims of crimes

    2024-05-17

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    In a few weeks, state agencies across California and in the Central Valley could see a significant drop in funds for the upcoming fiscal year.

    Because of budget cuts, as explained here , and a reduction in federal funds from the Office of Victims of Crime, or VOCA, Governor Gavin Newsom's Office of Emergency Services is reducing funds to crime victim services by almost 45%.

    Statewide, this could impact 382 organizations and close to 20,000 people, who will be left without lifesaving services.

    That includes programs offered by Family Services of Tulare County, which will have to be cut back by 10%.

    "We are looking at those cuts for all victim service providers, and this includes domestic violence services, human trafficking, sexual assault, child abuse, treatment, legal aid. All of those agencies nationwide and throughout our State will be facing these cuts," said Hannah Giles, the CEO for the Family Services of Tulare County.

    The organization has helped over 7,000 victims of violence from 2022 to 2023.

    The cuts mean they will have less resources - and their reach would decrease by at least a thousand people.

    It would also completely wipe out their legal services department that has helped file over 1,500 restraining orders in the last year.

    "Facing these cuts obviously, is going to impact everyone as a whole. Our whole community. Not just us," expressed Monica Rodriguez, who is the Division Director for Victim Services.

    Possibly forcing victims of domestic violence to stay in abusive environments or become homeless.

    "Disappointing. It's scary to look at. These potential cuts when we're here in the field, when staff are working with clients and survivors that are coming in our door. We don't want to have to worry about money. Can we serve these people? Can we help people in need?" questioned Hannah.

    Governor Newsom proposed his budget last week and has until June 15th to revise it. The process is explained here .

    Meanwhile, local legislators are working to increase the state's VOCA budget.

    "We do have a deficit in California, but we have $250B of revenue right now and I believe we should be able to find $200M out of the budget that currently exists to provide those services to the community," says 32nd District's Assemblymember, Vince Fong, who is part of the coalition to increase VOCA funds.

    The new budget will go into effect on July 1st.. that's when local agencies will have to cut back on jobs and services they provide for the community.

    For news updates, follow Kassandra Gutierrez on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .
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