Potential funding cuts to Live Violence Free (Opinion)

Chelcee Thomas

In a time when our community is called to stand against violence and support survivors on their journey to safety and healing, it is with a heavy heart to learn about potential funding cuts facing Live Violence Free and agencies across the nation who are dedicated to providing support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.

The Crime Victims Fund was created by Congress in 1984 to provide grants to state and local programs that assist victims of crime. The CVF has been generated entirely by fines from federal prosecutions and prosecution agreements – not taxpayer revenues – and is the most essential source of funding for victim services across the county. Over the years, the CVF has collected billions of dollars to expand services and programs offered by agencies like Live Violence Free. Tragically, these investments could not be sustained, and states are experiencing enormous cuts to their funding. The CVF cannot sustain the same funding as in previous years, and we are asking Congress to find other ways to maintain this funding for our vital programs. The critical services they provide hang in the balance, and the impact of these cuts would reverberate throughout our community.

Live Violence Free plays a crucial role in our community by offering crisis intervention, shelter, basic needs, counseling, legal assistance, and educational programs to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. These services are lifelines for individuals and families seeking safety, healing, and empowerment. In an era where every step forward matters, the prospect of losing funding for these vital programs is a setback we cannot afford.

Issues of violence and abuse know no boundaries, affecting individuals from all walks of life regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background. Survivors’ stories are interconnected, and their healing contributes to the health and well-being of our entire community. We work tirelessly to create safe spaces, cultivate support networks, and empower survivors with the tools to rebuild their lives. Our services are not just essential; they are fundamental to building a stronger and safer community.

Funding changes would undercut these efforts and leave survivors vulnerable. Reduced resources would mean fewer shelter beds, limited access to therapy, and less support for legal advocacy—essentially closing doors to the pathways of healing that survivors so desperately need. Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that funding cuts impact not just individuals but our community as a whole. An investment in nonprofits like Live Violence yields immeasurable returns—stronger families, safer neighborhoods, and a community that stands up against violence.

As a community, we are collectively responsible for supporting our neighbors and ensuring they thrive. We must unite and advocate for those who need our support the most. Only through collective action and unwavering commitment can we secure the future safety and empowerment of survivors. Live Violence Free has had the honor of serving South Lake Tahoe and Alpine County since 1977. It has been because of community support and advocacy that has allowed us to expand our programs and services to where they are today. In this crucial moment, I ask that you join Live Violence Free through advocacy, volunteering, or donating. I urge you to contact your Member of Congress and advocate for sustained funding for victim services. Together, we can empower choices and inspire change.

Chelcee Thomas is the Executive Director of Live Violence Free.

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