Thursday, October 1, 2015


Rosaura Torres‑Sadler

October 1, 2015
The Honorable Tom Wolf
Governor of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Re: The Budget Impasse Hurts Victims and Service Providers
Dear Governor Wolf:
In October, during national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, lives will be at risk across the commonwealth as victims in crisis lose access to domestic violence services due to the state budget impasse. The time to agree to a state budget has come and gone.
Please urge your caucus leadership to end the budget impasse and consider additional revenue that invests in all human services for the long term, including supporting survivors of domestic violence.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted a survey to demonstrate and gauge the impact of the impasse on the 60 domestic violence centers serving all 67 counties. Responses from centers serving rural, urban and suburban counties revealed:
 ‑All centers are using credit cards and reserves to keep serving victims. Many have already begun using lines of credit.
 ‑Seven centers anticipate running out of funds in October and 16 more will run out of funds in November. All 60 centers will run out of reserve funds by the end of December.
 ‑Likely the first centers to close their doors will be in rural parts of Pennsylvania with limited resources and counties where one center is the only domestic violence service provider. In some cases these centers are the only victim service provider for sexual assault victims as well. The responsibility to perform these vital services will shift to law enforcement and court personnel.
  ‑Across the state, centers with vacant positions have frozen hiring processes to ensure current staff will continue to be paid. At least 19 centers anticipate furloughing staff.
  ‑One center serving northern rural counties has been forced to furlough staff already. Meanwhile, staff at a suburban southeastern center have agreed to volunteer for the month of October in order to keep serving victims.
 ‑At least 25 centers have curtailed providing supportive services including: prevention education programs, children�s advocacy services, medical advocacy services, food pantry services, and relocation funds for victims.
The lack of resolution to the overall budget is putting lives at stake. On behalf of the thousands of victims served by domestic violence centers every year in Pennsylvania, please end the state budget impasse now.
Rosaura Torres‑Sadler

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