Friday, October 2, 2009

California Cuts funding, Shuts 6 Womens DV Shelters

Excerpt from the NYTimes article... click title to read full article

Shelters have also dropped 24-hour services, cut overnight staff at emergency centers and eliminated more comprehensive services like safe visitation centers, where staff members are posted when children are dropped off or picked up as part of custody agreements.

“Our members are struggling to keep their doors open,” said Tara Shabazz, the executive director of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, which represents the state’s nonprofit shelters.

In July, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated the remaining financing for the state’s Domestic Violence Program — some $16 million — in the face of a lingering budget gap of nearly $500 million. Legislators had closed most, but not all, of a $24 billion deficit.

Mr. Schwarzenegger has said he regretted the decision but had no choice. “The governor understands how difficult these cuts are,” said Aaron McLear, a spokesman. “But he can’t promise money we don’t have.”

Other states, including New Jersey and Illinois, have struggled to find ways to keep domestic violence centers open, but national advocacy groups say no state has gone as far as California in “zeroing out” domestic violence money.

“California is by far the most extreme and shocking example,” said Sue Else, the president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a group in Washington. “We’re appalled that this is the way that the governor would seek to balance the budget.”

The cuts to the program, which is part of the State Department of Public Health, means that the 94 nonprofit agencies charged with running the state’s domestic violence shelters have lost about $200,000 each. For most, that amounts to more than 40 percent of their anticipated annual financing, although agencies have received money for other shelter services from the federal stimulus package and the state’s emergency management agency.

Erik Sternad, the executive director of Interface Children Family Services in Ventura County, near Los Angeles, said his organization had initially believed that it would lose all five of its transitional shelters — usually multibedroom homes in suburban areas — where about three dozen women and children could live for up to 18 months. In the end, one was sold, one was transformed into youth services, and the final three were eventually saved by private donations. But of those, two have money assured only through June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

“We know that this money is going to run out about nine months from now,” Mr. Sternad said.

The pain has been most acute in remote areas. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition in Grass Valley, northeast of Sacramento, is the only such facility in that area. The coalition closed its 12-bed shelter, leaving five families in the lurch.

Niko Johnson, the coalition’s executive director, said her staff managed to find places for those families to stay, but has since had to turn away 14 women with 8 children.

“We had to give a voucher for a motel,” she said. “When women get to that point and are ready to make a change, it’s hard to say we can give you three nights in a motel. They ask, ‘What next?’ ”

At the same time, Ms. Else, of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said the impact of a sour economy, including job losses and foreclosures, added to the need for services.

Pitiful... Words fail me at times like this when we have such stupid ass spending that is so out of control, bailing out Insurance and banking concerns and throwing women and children on the streets or sending them back to the abuse they left.


  1. This makes me very sad to say the least!! I do understand that the economy is struggling in all States. California, of all States with the multi million dollar extravagant houses just in Los Angeles boggles my mind. How can they not tax the very rich people that live in this style where they can afford thousands of dollars on a pair of running shoes? I may be wrong but they sure did raise billions and billions of dollars for Obama's election funding and yet for this the country cannot find the money? I think this country has lost a lot of respect in the world. The shocking way that Hurricane Katrina survivors were treated sickened the world that looked on in horror!! Help was offered for these victims by cruise ships but the help was turned away? The president just flew by New Orleans and watched what was going on below? Yet when a bridge that injured 100 people gets the attention of the president's visit the very next day I think we have our priorities all ass backwards!! To turn out these women that have been threw such terror and have found the courage to leave! I will continue discussing this on my blog today. This is supposed to be a comment not a speach. LOL. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!
    Joni :-)

  2. swipe away sister... all of us need to become ons voice. and I love what you wrote..speech or not.