By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Northwest Philadelphia non-profit that helps thousands of crime victims every year is holding a fundraiser tonight, with the hope of filling the gap left by federal budget cuts.
Located on Germantown Avenue, Northwest Victim Services provides support for nearly 3,500 crime victims every year. But tens of millions of dollars in cuts to the federal Victims of Crime Act fund have taken its toll, says Executive Director Donna Hull.
“Our agency got a 6 percent cut in VOCA funding,” says Hull, who notes they now only receive about $137,000. She says the VOCA grant accounts for 60 percent of the group’s funding. “Victim service programs across the country are facing drastic cuts. So, this event is extremely important to us.”
Hull says the agency helps victims get restitution, clean up crime scenes and walks them through the criminal justice process. Last year, they helped victims recover $180,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for crimes committed against them.
“No one asked to be a victim of a crime, but when they are it is very disruptive in your life and you really need someone to help guide you,” says Hull.
She says tonight’s jazz fundraiser will need to help fill a $10,000 budget gap.
The event takes place today at PECO from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, go to NorthwestVictimServices.org.