When Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced his supplemental budget request to deal with crime on Thursday, he included $35 million for victim services providers.
That money is intended to close a gap in federal funding under the Victim of Crime Act, or VOCA.
Lisae Jordan, executive director and counsel at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, or MCASA, said the federal funding dip under VOCA is temporary.
The Biden Administration signed a bill to replenish the funding in the summer of 2021, but that won’t take effect for two to three years. So MCASA, along with other organizations, had been asking for state funding to fill that gap.
“We appreciate the governor listening to our pleas for more support,” Jordan said. “What it means is that we won’t have to lay people off, what it means is that we won’t have to turn people away from shelters.”
Maryland has dozens of organizations that provide assistance to victims of all sorts of crimes, from elder abuse to sex trafficking.
“These are core services; these are rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters. This is that every day counseling hotline advocacy that is part of our safety net” for victims, Jordan said.
Hogan told reporters Thursday that for the remaining days of the General Assembly session, his focus will be on two issues: passage of his crime and tax relief bills.
The 90-day legislative session will end on April 11.