May 24, 2017
Yesterday, the White House released its proposed fiscal year 2018 budget for our nation. Despite the President’s rhetoric around safety for all, this budget proposal would almost certainly place many survivors of violence at risk of further harm.
As the nation’s leading provider of services for victims of crime, we are deeply alarmed that this budget, if passed by Congress, stands to greatly erode the safety net that helps survivors of violence access public benefits, housing and other life-saving services. Everyone in our country deserves to live a life free of violence and these important federal funding streams help provide avenues to safety for crime victims in every state.
The budget contains proposals to:
- Substantially reduce TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) funds;
- Eliminate CDBG (Community Development Block Grants);
- Scale back Medicaid;
- Make deep cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program); and
- Re-purpose more than $1 billion from the Victims of Crime Act Fund for non-victim service related activities.
Behind this alphabet soup of acronyms are programs that save lives. These cuts will present new barriers and threats to survivors of crime and abuse who often rely on these programs at the most difficult times in their lives.
For survivors, those difficult times are many: when they need immediate guidance from an expert on how to deal with a life-threatening situation, when shelter is indispensable to escape from abuse, when speaking to a counselor specialized in trauma who can address their mental and emotional health, when financial assistance will enable a family with no other sources of support to move into safe housing and feed their family. This and much more is now in jeopardy. These cuts would be especially hard-hitting for marginalized communities in New York City.
“Safe Horizon touches the lives of a quarter of a million people in New York City each year. This Administration’s budget would create new risks and challenges for the New Yorkers who reach out to us in crisis every day,” says Ariel Zwang, CEO.
Historically, federal funding for crime victims has had bi-partisan support and it should: we know crime impacts people of all political stripes. Congress has an important role in preserving these essential programs. We call on all federal legislators to ensure that millions of victims of crime in our country will not be told that there is no help for them when they’ve experienced some of the worst moments of their lives.
Safe Horizon will do our part by contacting our members of Congress and the Senate and urging them to protect vital funding streams for victims of crime. We will also work closely with our federal advocacy partners to help generate a groundswell of support across the country for these and other critical programs.