Executive Director of the Safe Passage Domestic Violence Shelter, Mary Ellen Schaid, says she was surprised to find out that the Illinois House voted to restore funding for domestic violence shelters. She says they have not received any money from the State since July.
“It’s been stressful.” She adds, “We have not been able to fill vacant positions. And we, of course, have to count every penny.”
But Schaid is being cautiously optimistic. The Illinois Senate still has to approve the bill, and Governor Bruce Rauner has to sign it before they can receive their funding.
Schaid hopes they will also see how important their services are for domestic violence victims. She says, “[Domestic violence victims are] fearing for their lives in many instances, so they can’t go to family because their partner knows their family, and they wouldn’t be safe there. Domestic violence shelters are vital.”
Local state representative John Cabello (R) voted in favor of the bill, and hopes this is one step closer to ending the budget impasse in Springfield.
Cabello says, “It’s about time we did our jobs and got something done. We still have more to go. I’m glad to see that the five legislative leaders are starting to work together.”
State representative Litesa Wallace (D) also supported the bill. In a statement given to Eyewitness News she says, “These shelters are integral in helping parents and their children as they face a time of traumatic hardship. The specialized care provided by these shelters plays a positive, stabilizing role within our community, and this funding will ensure that doors remain open and that those in need of care in Rockford get the attention they deserve. Survivors of domestic violence should remain a priority in Springfield, and I look forward to continuing to work to provide the necessary resources for these individuals.”
The house also freed up funding for gas taxes, lottery winners, and for LIHEAP. The senate is expected to vote on the bill Monday.