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Domestic Abuse Shelters Hope to Hold on to State Money

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

Johnnie Harris was a victim of domestic abuse for over 15 years..

"He was very abusive, fighting day in and day out for no reason. Its like I had no other choice." says Harris.

She left her home, her job and everything familiar when she arrived at Phoebe's home 3 years ago. Monday, Johnnie was among 200 survivors and domestic abuse advocates asking for continued funding for abuse shelters at the Texas State Capitol.

"The shelter here would just shut down--simply put." says Peggy Zaongo, Program Director of Phoebe's Home.

The state has proposed domestic violence shelters be funded from the state's general revenue budget for the next two years. The shelters have been funded from the attorney general's Crime Victims' Compensation Fund or CVC, which has seen a dwindling surplus.

"Right now the way everything is set up we're looking to expand our services in those counties and with them cutting--that's gonna be very tough." says Zaongo.

Currently, $22 million a year is distributed to more than 80 family violence programs statewide. The Attorney General is projecting a nearly $15 million cut. That means helping victims like Johnnie could become more difficult.

"Phoebe's home helps women like us. I feel like if they were to close the home down or they would lose their funding...there would be more battered women out there." says Harris.


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