FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) – During his budget address Thursday night, Governor Beshear proposed bold investments in education, the workforce, and healthcare. But to move Kentucky forward, he said the people need to be strong.
“We lead with our shared Kentucky values of family, faith, and a deep commitment to one another,” Beshear said.
That means helping the vulnerable and victims to violence.
“If we are to live out our faith, and especially to serve out the lost, the lonely, and the left behind, we must also do more to address child abuse and domestic violence,” Beshear said.
The governor’s budget proposes a 34% increase in funding for domestic violence, rape crisis, and child advocacy centers. For domestic violence shelters, like the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, that’s just over $2.5 million to help serve those coming for help.
“We are so grateful that all of our leadership in the state are stepping up and seeing how important our services are,” said Angela Yannelli with the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The pandemic has caused a spike in victims seeking help. Shelters and groups aren’t hesitating to do it, but it is putting a strain on finances. The $2.5 million is help they’re thankful for, but organizations say to meet all the needs and shortcomings, they could use $15 million.
“This is bare bones to be able to provide service at a level that needs to be happening,” Yannelli said.
Both the coalition and Greenhouse 17 in Lexington say the cash will go quickly, to hopefully give raises to retain advocates, focus on mental health, and expanding resources and comfort for the people they help.
The coalition said one thing they would really like is enough funding to transition out of using congregate housing for their clients. They said the pandemic really highlighted the need to get out of that model.
There is a stark difference between the governor’s budget and the early-filed House budget when it comes to child advocacy centers. Beshear’s plan give $1.3 million a year, while House Bill 1 appropriates $3 million.
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Advocates say state’s domestic violence shelter funding not enough