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Proposed state funding cuts impacting Santa Cruz County non-profit Monarch Services

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION-TV)- Monarch Services in Santa Cruz County may lose a significant amount of dollars needed to fund several services for victims of violence.

For the first time, they are seeing a budget cut during a time when more people need their services.

Monarch Services offers services for people who have suffered domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in Santa Cruz County.

An anticipated $630 million could be cut from the Victims of Crime Act, which funds over 400 California organizations, including Monarch Services.

The cost of Monarch Services says that their budget will be cut by 13%, whereas in the past they saw increases of up to 10%.

Karina Arana has been with Monarch Services for two years after leaving her abusive partner.

"I found this place, I'm so grateful." Arana said. "I have benefited and I have learned so much,"

Karina has three kids all under the age of 10.

Without the help of Monarch Services – she would not be in a stable house with her family.

"They're helping me with part of my rent," said Arana. What's important is that I can have a job and I have a place where my kids can feel free."

After speaking with Monarch Services Community Development Manager Janna Rivas, she says more people like Karina have been needing the services every year.

Rivas says the need for services has gone up over 250% since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2023, they helped over 1,800 people. With the need for monarch services growing and the loss of funding, this could limit the county's ability to support survivors in crises.

"We currently, you know, cannot have as many positions as we need for the one-on-one case management," said Rivas. "We also provide contracted legal services with attorneys in our community, and we want to maintain that legal support is incredibly expensive and hard, especially for those in our community."

As a result, Monarch Services say they are appealing to Governor Newsom and state political leaders to allocate $200 million and ensure services to their community, and others.

"We have been asking the state of California to help backfill this funding because, our agency, along with all of the other eight victims serving agencies, do rely on federal dollars to provide the essential services to survivors and their families," said Rivas.

Rivas says they are continuing to apply for grants so people like Karina can get the help they need.

The proposed budget cut will mainly affect client aid, bed nights, shelter, contract support with legal services, and overall benefits to staff according to Rivas

Monarch Services says you can help out by contacting your local state leader to help fill the budget deficit for victims' services.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.


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