Illinois Domestic Shelter Funding in Jeopardy

Domestic violence shelter providers in Illinois are suffering without state money due to the budget crisis. (WRSP)

This may be the last hope for Illinois domestic violence shelters.

The executive director of Sojourn's Shelter & Services, Inc. says the organization needs a bill to pass in order to stay open.

The House is scheduled to vote on that bill which would streamline more than $18 million for shelters across the state.

"Friends have even told me that they were scared that he would kill me," a domestic violence shelter survivor said.

This survivor didn't want her face or her name to be shown because she still lives her life looking over her shoulder.

"He can't hurt me inside anymore," she said.

Sojourn's Executive Director Angela Bertoni says they could be closing.

The state owes them more than $400,000.

"I mean where do you fill that gap from unless someone wants to step up and write us a check for that?” Bertoni asked. “I mean how do fill that big enough gap? You can't."

The domestic violence survivor we spoke with says she's alive because of the Sojourn Shelter.

She says her now ex-boyfriend was physically violent. She says he broke her legs, choked her and attempted to cut her head off with a sword.

"When I woke up I had a burn on my leg that took the entire hide from my leg to the point where I still have a scar," the survivor said.

There's a need for Sojourn Shelter's services.

The 32-bed facility is at full capacity right now and there can be another 15 people waiting for a bed.

"I mean you have a lot of food you have to supply," Bertoni said. “We have utilities; light and heat, those type of things that are all the time. We have staff to man a shelter that is open 24/7, 365. I mean, unfortunately, we are not just open Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 -- that would be easy to man.”

Bertoni fears for the day they'll have to turn women and children away.

"I don't know where you tell those people to go to. I mean someone is in their home and is violating them who do they turn to, where do they go," Bertoni said.

"Sojourn has helped me totally...I can function I can go out and I’m away and I got a life," said the domestic violence survivor we spoke with.

Bertoni says they're looking for people to sign up and be proponents of the bill.

To sign up to be a proponent for Illinois domestic shelter funding click here.

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