Posted by: joshjasper | June 12, 2009

Priorities

As I am walking out of my office this afternoon I noticed a fax hanging out of the machine and decided to grab it and put it into the appropriate box before I started my weekend.  Bad move.

I didn’t even have to turn the fax over to know what I was about to read was bad news.  I could see in large letters “URGENT” typed across the entire page.  Not good.  My fears were realized in the first line that stated “the Department of Human Services (DHS) has notified our state coalition to plan for a 75% reduction in funds.

I could bore you with numbers of how that will impact the entire state, but I won’t.  What I will do is tell you specifically how it will impact the Riverview Center.  Currently, we receive $175,000 from this grant that is being slashed.  With the 75% reduction, we stand to lose more than $130,000.  To put this into perspective for our agency, we have an operating budget of approximately $775,000 that ensures we serve citizens from Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin with free services.  This is a MAJOR hit.

Aside from this doomsday news, let’s focus on the big, reoccurring picture for a moment.  Legislators were tasked with “eliminating waste” from the budget and did so by first and foremost slashing funding for rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.  When you boil down our work to the very basics as to why we exist and serve so many, it has everything to do with the message that the legislators sent today; women, children, and men that have been raped and domestically abused ARE NOT a priority.

To be clear, some rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters throughout the state of Illinois will absolutely be forced to closed due to this funding deficit.  Fortunately, we at the Riverview Center will survive; we must.  But at what expense?  Our work is hard enough without having to worry about what next funding source will decide to cripple our services; the services focused on the betterment of our community.

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Responses

  1. Josh, upon hearing this news, I wasn’t angry, I didn’t panic . . .I was just sad. Sad that what we do every single day is reduced to a number. A number on a spreadsheet saying that what we do DOESN’T matter. I think we at Riverview Center are stronger than this! We can and will succeed and get past this!


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