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Illinois agencies struggle to provide domestic violence resources without help from the state

MOLINE, Illinois--Illinois democratic congressmen are demanding that Governor Bruce Rauner restore funding for domestic violence shelters in the state. Funds were left out of the stop gap budget. Local agencies who provide these resources struggle to stay afloat without state money.

The empty parking lot at Family Resources in Moline tells a story organizers wish was fiction.

"People can't sustain this for much longer. We just don't have those resources available now," says Family Resources program officer Nicole Cisne-Durbin.

The stop gap budget in Illinois didn't include funding for domestic violence services blindsiding many organizations across the state.

When the temporary budget ran out at the end of 2016, Family Resources had to cit 9.5 full-time positions, that's about two thirds of staff.

"When we have less staff, our ability to focus on those longer term needs, stabilization is really diminished. So we're really put back into responsive mode of responding to crisis," says Cisne-Durbin.

Leaders say the focus now is helping people in the first stages of trauma, like responding to a survivor at the hospital immediately after abuse. They say that's not enough.

"It's like the tip of the iceberg. It's just one small piece in this very complex line of issues that has to be addressed," says Cisne-Durbin.

And they don't know how much longer they can hold on without money from the state.

"Just like all social services, we're all operating under the premise that they're going to get a state budget passed. But that's really hard for us to do. It's like gambling, will we get paid, or will we not get paid?" says Cisne-Durbin.

Meanwhile, the parking lot will stay sparse with cars. But more importantly, organizers say, the longer the wait, the more people will go without help.

The Illinois Department of Human Services told News 8 they "fully intend to pay all domestic violence programs that have contracts with the state in full once the General Assembly passes a balanced budget alongside changes that will support the long term stability of our human services programs."

They say they "are hopeful the General Assembly will reach a compromise to balance the budget with changes that will protect these important programs."