HELP ON THE WAY: Outcry about budget cuts to nonprofits leads to lifeline after Turn To Tara report
Public outcry about massive budget cuts for the nonprofit community led to a lifeline following a Turn To Tara report.
The News 12 report exposed dramatic cutbacks to dozens of agencies across New York that provide services for victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking and other serious crimes.
News 12 has learned that Gov. Kathy Hochul has included $14.4 million in her executive budget to avoid the looming layoffs and slashed services.
Hope's Door executive director Carlla Horton says she is breathing a sigh of relief this week along with 60 other nonprofit leaders across New York because drastic funding cuts from the state Office of Victim Services threatened widespread layoffs and program reductions.
Organizers from Long Island, Westchester and New York City reached out to the Turn To Tara team two weeks ago, fearful millions of dollars would disappear from their budgets - at a time when demand is surging due to skyrocketing crime.
These concerns reached the hallways of the state Capitol.
"It doesn't matter whether it was a federal cut or a state cut. It's still a cut that will end operations and many of these providers who do God's work, so we need to backfill that money for the next two years," says state Sen. Pete Harckham.
Other lawmakers also promised to fight back.
"It's not even sufficient what we have, so we can't afford to lose even one tiny bit of that," says Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.
How does Hochul's $14 million compare to other big states also facing the same cutbacks? Data that News 12 has uncovered shows that other states have stepped up more significantly to replace those lost federal dollars.
California set aside $100 million, which translates to roughly $2.52 per state resident. Texas is spending even more -- $5.48 per person, totaling $160 million. This is in comparison to just 71 cents per capita in New York - the state with the highest demand for domestic violence services in the country.
"I feel like an orphan child compared to some of the other states," says Horton.
A spokesperson from the Office of Victim Services says it was forced to make the cuts due to a 70% reduction in federal funding over the past three years, and that other grants will be made available.