Other Essential Programs Still at Risk
HARRISBURG, Pa., (June 25, 2019) — The House Appropriations Committee has approved a spending plan, which will be considered by the full House today, that increases the line items for both domestic and sexual violence. The domestic violence line item put forth in this plan reflects a ten percent increase, or $1.73 million.
PCADV and its member delegation of 59 local domestic violence programs have actively advocated for a ten percent increase for consideration in both the Governor’s budget as well as the General Assembly’s spending plan. PCADV applauds the House Appropriations Committee for including this increase in its budget bill as the funds are critically needed to help close the gap in unmet needs and to increase trauma-informed delivery of services for domestic violence victims and survivors.
Unfortunately, increases to domestic violence services, while critically needed, are offset by a lack of funding for the General Assistance program. This calculus makes vulnerable the very populations the increase in human services funding is intended to protect. The individual cash benefits from this program, though nominal, are a lifeline for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens, including fleeing victims of domestic violence.
Not included in this budget plan is a minimum wage increase. A living wage is not a partisan issue for survivors of domestic violence. Ninety-eight percent of domestic violence victims also experience financial abuse. For survivors of domestic violence, access to a sustainable job earning a living wage may be the only path to a life free of abuse.
PCADV supports the House Appropriations spending plan and is very encouraged by the ten percent increase for domestic violence services as it will directly benefit victims and survivors of domestic violence by allowing for increased capacity in the delivery of a continuum of comprehensive services. However, the plan illustrates the complexity for Pennsylvania’s citizens and underscores how even laudable funding increases in the broader context create additional challenges for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable populations.