Reps. Van Hollen, Cummings, Edwards, Ruppersberger Send Letter to House Appropriations Committee In Support of MD Victims Assistance Organization, Victims & Families
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD – October 24, 2013 – The Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center (MCVRC), a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides free technical, legal and therapeutic assistance to all victims of crime, announced Friday that four members of the Maryland Congressional delegation sent a letter expressing concerns about major across-the-board federal funding reductions for non-profit organizations that provide free assistance and critical support to victims of crime. In their letter, the members requested the House appropriations Committee fulfill the Department of Justice’s request for $25 million in victims’ services funding – the same level already approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Recent cuts to a variety of grant programs have led to painful funding reductions for organizations that provide assistance to victims who have suffered as a result of criminal violence. At the MCRVC alone, the full-time employee workforce has been reduced more than 300 percent due to diminished availability of public support.
“We look forward to working with the Appropriations Committee to fulfill the Justice Department’s request for $25 million for Vision 21’s victims’ services and initiatives,” wrote the members of Congress in their October 21 letter.
The MCVRC significantly depends upon individual and community donations in addition to state and federal grant funding to accomplish its mission. Over the past few years it has become increasingly difficult to continue helping victims as funding streams have been slashed by the Department of Justice. “In order for us to continue offering quality services to our growing community, it is essential that we continue to receive financial support from our state and federal partners,” said Russell Butler, Executive Director, MCVRC.
“The Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center serves as a tremendous force for victims who have suffered due to violent crime. It is critical that the House Appropriations Committee understands the important role these organizations serve, and that Congress support its work,” said Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4).
The federal Office of Justice Programs’ Identity Theft Grant will be eliminated at the end of this year, as well as grant programs through the Children’s Justice Act Grant, and Community Development Block Grant, which will be eliminated in 2014. Federal grants alone accounted for more than 50% of MCVRC’s 2012 funding levels. With fiscal year 2015 funding levels likely to be cut to 1/6th of the fiscal year 2011 funding, the MCVRC is projecting it will only be able to serve half of the number of victims it did a few years ago, with reduced levels of service.
“People frequently ask how we can do this difficult work. For me personally, it is not how can I do this work, but how could I not. Our children and all crime victims and their families need and deserve hope. Sustaining MCVRC as an effective statewide non-profit is our on-going priority, and we’re asking our elected representatives to fight for these grant programs.” – Roberta Ropert, Founder and Board Chair of the MCVRC.
The Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing free legal advice and therapeutic support to all victims of criminal violence. The MCVRC operates three offices in Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, and Washington D.C. The organization also advocates on behalf of victims’ rights, and has had a hand in more than 80 Maryland laws for victims’ rights and a State constitutional amendment for crime victims’ rights. More information about the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center is available at www.mdcrimevictims.org. Please contact James Norton at 202-360-3064 for media inquiries.