DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The newly passed two-year state budget includes a historic moment for domestic violence shelters across the state.
The budget includes a 123 percent increase in funding for domestic violence prevention. Some are saying this is historic moment that will have an incredible impact on the state and the entire Dayton area.
“This is historic funding for Ohio. This is the first time we’re going to put dedicated funding towards domestic violence shelters and programming,” said Ohio State Representative Niraj Antani.
Ohio ranks among the lowest states in the country for funding domestic violence prevention programs. Data shows that in 2018, Ohio spent $2.04 per person on domestic violence funding which is not even half of the national average which is $5.82.
“It really puts counties in tough positions of having to allocate their dollars really strategically,” explained Sarah Wolf-Knigt the grants and advocacy manager at YWCA Dayton.
Now, $1 million from the general fund will got to supporting domestic violence hotlines, victim advocacy, prevention education and most importantly safe shelters for victims.
Many shelters in the area like YWCA Dayton have been depending on federal grants to keep up with the cost of providing safe spaces for domestic violence victims.
“The operating budget of our shelters is over a million dollars,” said Wolf-Knight. “Three meals a day, providing all their clothing and personal hygiene needs…running the phone system,having the lights on, paying the staff,” she continued.
State Representative Antani says the next steps include the Attorney General working to make rules and guidelines that will determine how the funding will be distributed to the organizations that need it across the state.