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Aurora domestic violence shelter finally gets funding under Senate budget plan

Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – An Aurora domestic violence shelter that has suffered through layoffs and service cuts amid the state’s financial crisis, could finally see stable state funding that could restore vital services to abused women under a plan the Illinois Senate recently approved.

“Mutual Ground and those that they serve have already paid a steep price for inaction and gridlock in Springfield,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “The plan that I voted for would fully fund Mutual Ground, giving them the certainty that they need to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

The Senate’s balanced budget plan restores funding for human service organizations that have been left guessing as to how much, if any, state funding they will receive the past two years. Mutual Ground, other domestic violence shelters along with programs for breast and cervical cancer screenings, addiction treatment and mental health services have all suffered during the state’s budget impasse.

The breakthrough Senate plan would budget more than $370,000 in state funding to Mutual Ground in the budget year that begins July 1.

Illinois has gone without a full budget since Bruce Rauner became governor in 2015. Mutual Ground did not receive funding in the 2016 emergency budget and has gone two years without any assistance from the state. The Senate, with Holmes’ support, recently approved a balanced budget that relies on a mix of cuts and new revenue to wipe out a more than $5 billion deficit in the unbalanced budget plan Governor Rauner proposed earlier this year.

While the budget stalemate played out at the Capitol over the past two years, Mutual Ground lost 10 staff members to attrition and layoffs. As a result, it was forced to turn people away and do more with less staff, leading to a high burnout rate in an already challenging field.

Mutual Ground is a nonprofit serving the Greater Aurora area, Southern Kane County and all of Kendall County. The mission of the organization is to provide education, awareness and services to empower individuals, families and communities to stop domestic and sexual violence.

“For too long, political games have gotten in the way of progress, and Mutual Ground’s struggle illustrates the very real consequences of the budget crisis. The Senate took action to restore stability and end the chaos. I hope that the Illinois House and Governor Rauner will follow our lead and do the same,” Holmes said.

Sen. Linda Holmes

holmes-15

42nd District

Years served:
2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Environment and Conservation; Labor; Local Government; Committee of the Whole; Commerce and Economic Development (Chairperson); Insurance.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.