A local domestic violence shelter will benefit from the new state budget.
The Crisis Center Foundation in Jacksonville along with other members of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence put together a plan in December to request more funding for domestic violence services from the state.
Crisis Center Foundation of Jacksonville Executive Director Donna Leanard says the request was for $50 million in increased funding from their general revenue line item in the new state budget.
“That’s the most flexible funding that we have. Since then we have been meeting with legislators and people in the Governor’s Office letting them know how much this increase is needed, what it would do for domestic violence victims in the state, how it would increase the safety net for them, increase our ability to provide services, expand on services, and to pay our advocates a living wage so that we can hire and retain good advocates.”
During budget talks in the General Assembly, Leanard says they first were made aware last week that the Illinois House had increased funding to $25 million, then late last week the Illinois Senate further increased the line item to the full $50 million.
The increase means that domestic center funding in Illinois will go from $20 to $70 million beginning on July first when fiscal year 2023 kicks in. Leanard says the increased funding was truly a bipartisan effort in the General Assembly.
We are just so thankful that our legislators took this important matter to heart and worked very hard. Leader of the House of Representatives Greg Harris was very instrumental in getting this through and there were several others, Representative [Kelly] Cassidy, Representative [Barbara] Hernadez, and I believe Senator Peters that were right up there pushing for this, and I’m sure there are many others.
In our area, I would like to say a special thank you to Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer and Senator Steve McClure for meeting with me and texting, emailing, talking on the phone for the last several months, and for supporting this increase to services.”
Leanard says the Crisis Center Foundation in Jacksonville will now be able to implement plans to increase services for survivors of domestic violence on a larger scale.
“We’ve had some plans for the last few years that we’ve wanted to implement and just couldn’t because of lack of funding. So there are some things we have on the agenda that we want to address. We want to try to expand more into the outlying counties, Greene, Cass, and Scott and have more of a presence in those counties. We are definitely putting more resources into our community outreach and education and prevention. It wasn’t direct services but it was vital so we did the best we could with what we had. But that will definitely be one of the areas we will be building upon.”
The Crisis Center Foundation provides 24-hour comprehensive services for intervention through their 800-number hotline as well as safety planning, information, and referral for service. You can call them locally at 217-243-4357 or at 1-800-799-7233.
The Crisis Center Foundation of Jacksonville can also be found on Facebook. Leanard says there are multiple people who monitor and respond via the page in an effort to reach more in need of help.