From AP - News Headlines -

Domestic Violence Shelter Receives Much-Needed Infusion of Backdated State Cash

Things could be turning around for an Urbana domestic violence shelter recently forced into layoffs and reduced services.

A Woman's Place has received more than $120,000 in back payments owed by the state. Executive Director Tami Tunnell expects the shelter to remain on an expedited payment schedule for the next six months.

The agency hadn't expected to receive any payments until mid-December. Tunnell says the news came as shock, but she'll take a conservative approach when looking at the months ahead:

"So we're got going to jump and bring everybody back right aw, " Tunnell said. "Hopefully one of these days soon we'll be back to some semblance of normal, but what we'll be looking at is how much we need to set aside in the bank account in case this happens again and the state gets backed up."

A Woman's Place was forced to lay off 10 employees last month, reducing its staff to six. Tunnell says some may be brought back for part-time work around the holidays, but won't do any more hiring until early next year. A Woman's Place had also stopped taking new admissions. It's now serving about 18 families, some staying at the shelter, and others who have found other places to live with the agency's help.

Carol Knowles, a spokeswoman for Illinois comptroller Dan Hynes, says her office is getting flooded with requests each day from various social service agencies. She says the letters from A Woman's Place showed the most urgent need for funding. The state currently has a backlog of $4.4 billion in unpaid bills.