As the city of San Antonio gets ready to finalize its budget for next year, more than a million dollars could be taken away from a variety of agencies, including those that help victims of domestic violence and rape.
“These are agencies doing services, vital services for the city, that are delegated to them because we don't have the resources or expertise to deal with them,” said District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg.
The agencies Nirenberg is talking about are part of the city’s “safety net” programs. For 2016, San Antonio allocated nearly $10 million to those agencies. However, some city council members propose to re-allocate more than $1.3 of that next year, mostly to workforce development with the overall goal of creating jobs.
Miriam Elizondo runs The Rape Crises Center. She said that the agency relies on city funding to send a specialist to the hospital after someone’s been victimized.
“We send certified specialized advocates to be there, to ensure their rights are being upheld, emotional support, connect them to information, resources in the community, those are services that have the potential to be cut,” Elizondo said.
Marta Pelaez oversees The Battered Women and Children’s Shelter. Pelaez said that, last year, SAPD responded to 45,000 calls related to domestic violence.
“Two thirds of the population that we help are children,” Pelaez said. “That is why we changed the name from ‘Battered Women’s Shelter’ to ‘Battered Women and Children’s Shelter.’”
“It’s shocking that, you know, in a city that has such dramatic problems with issues like family violence, that we would shift funds away from those agencies,” Nirenberg said.
The budget is not finalized until September. Mayor Ivy Taylor has said that she supports allocating more money to workforce development.
Councilman Mike Gallagher believes that agencies that are receiving city funding every year should start looking for other sources of funding. He said that there are other agencies out there looking to receive the same opportunity.