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SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. – California Governor Gavin Newsom and various organizations across SLO County have secured over $100 million toward crime victims as part of a new program for aid.

Below is a press release for the newest program to help victims of crimes:

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, CA – Lumina Alliance, CASA of San Luis Obispo County (SLO CASA), the Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center, and San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation (SLOLAF) are relieved that Governor Newsom and the California State Legislature have included $103 million of the $200 million needed in funding for crime victim services. In this year’s budget, programs like Lumina Alliance’s 24-hour Crisis & Information Line, SLO CASA’s advocacy services for vulnerable foster youth, and Victim Witness advocates will continue to serve residents of SLO County. However, funding remains precarious, and additional reductions will likely occur in the near future. Additionally, many competitive grants, such as those that fund SLOLAF’s Family Law Services program and SLO CASA’s grant-funded programs, will still be drastically reduced or cut entirely under the current state budget. 

The need for this funding comes as a result of federal cuts to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funded grants. VOCA created The Crime Victims Fund in 1984 which is funded by federal crime fines and forfeitures, not taxpayer money. VOCA supports grants for crime victim assistance in all states. Unfortunately, this year, the federal funding cap for VOCA has been greatly reduced, meaning that programs that support victims of crime needed the state to backfill this funding source or face being significantly reduced as well. This budget agreement will prevent many devastating cuts to organizations in SLO County, but community support is still needed to offset the overall impacts from the loss of federal funding. As the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and VALOR wrote; 

“To create a safer California, survivors must be able to process their trauma, meet their basic needs, and begin to heal. Our coalition will be back next year, urging Governor Newsom and the Legislature to prioritize the needs of survivors of crime on an ongoing basis.” 

While this funding allows many victim service organizations to breathe a temporary sigh of relief, it does not ensure stability or help sustain programs beyond this budget cycle, nor does it make up for the total loss in federal funds. Next year will likely see similarly sized cuts and advocacy efforts will need to continue to ensure that SLO County crime victims and their families will be supported. Support for legislation that creates a more stable, long-term funding source for victim assistance programs will help to prevent future and continued cuts from having a catastrophic impact. AB 2432, authored by Assemblymember Gabriel, will provide a new revenue source for crime victim service programs across the state by establishing the California Crime Victims Fund. Call your state representative today and urge them to continue to prioritize the health and safety of crime victims for years to come, and consider giving to one of the impacted organizations in SLO County.

Lumina Alliance

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