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The Source: City May Cut Contribution To Safety Net Agencies

CouncilMeeting.jpg
Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio

The city of San Antonio is considering reducing $1.3 million from delegate agencies dealing with community safety net programs. The cuts affect programs within the Rape Crisis Center, the Family Violence Prevention Services Inc, and other associated safety net programs. Instead much of the money would go towards workforce development programs under the reshuffle.

San Antonio had 45,000 domestic violence calls in 2014, says Marta Palaez, who runs the Family Violence Prevention Services Inc, which operates the Battered Women's and Children's Shelter. She calls the idea of reducing funding unfortunate.

"Safety net is precisely that, you have a family, you have a person  that is free falling for no fault of its own towards the concrete, she argues "And the proposal as I understand it is to remove that safety net and to let that family to free fall onto the concrete."

According to Miriam Elizondo, executive director of The Rape Crisis Center, the reduction while small in the overall would significantly impact one program that assists both victims and law enforcement. Their Crisis Intervention Hospital Accompaniment Program has staff always on call to go to hospitals as soon as a victim has reported a sexual assault. They assist victims with clothing - that could be collected for evidence - assisting them with paperwork, transportation, shelter and ensuring they follow up with police.

"If we were to have that cut - or the complete elimination of those funds - then we're talking about 900 people that wouldn't get immediate support who solely does this," she says.

San Antonio has higher numbers of rape and sexual assault than Houston, says Elizondo. The last two years the city has had more than 1000 sexual assaults a year.

The current budget prioritization will continue as planned unless council decides to change it before issuing it to city staff to formulate a budget. The budget would be voted on in September.

Guests:

  • Marta Palaez, CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services Inc
  • Miriam Elizondo, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center
  • Ron Nirenberg, council member for San Antonio's 8th District
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive