Domestic violence shelters facing more budget cuts
BATON ROUGE - Domestic violence shelters across Louisiana are facing their second budget cut in the last few months.
The Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services have proposed a cut of $1.4 million to domestic violence services. If approved, shelters would be operating with 40 percent less funding than last year, after the $1 million the Jindal administration cut last December.
"At some places, that will mean that the shelters will not be able to do shelter work anymore," said Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Beth Meeks. "We can already document that in any given year, we have about 2,000 unmet needs, people who get turned away, because the beds are full."
DCFS says they will continue "to work with domestic violence providers in moving away from costly residential care...best practices focusing on outreach and prevention, bringing services to victims, costing less while maintaining a priority for safety, and resulting in longer-term, sustainable outcomes."
Executive Director of IRIS domestic violence center Judy Benitez says they can't afford to make any more cuts.
"There's nothing else that we can do other than cut back on services to the women and their children," said Benitez. "I can't even stress enough how critical that is, because people come here when they really have no where else to go."
This week, shelter directors are meeting to see where they can make additional cuts to their staff and services. The proposed budget will be voted on by lawmakers, next month.