Rape Crisis Agency Stays Open Despite Lack Of State Money

Signs on the door for the RACES agency in Urbana.

Signs identify the door to RACES, or Rape Advocacy, Counseling and Education Services in Urbana.

Jeff Bossert/Illinos Public Media

A rape crisis agency based in Urbana no longer fears closing this spring.

Rape Advocacy, Counseling and Education Services --- RACES, for short --- was hit hard by Illinois’ budget impasse. In 2015, $200,000, or half their operating budget, came from state grants. This year, their state funding has been zero. Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Amy Williams says ultimately, they don’t think any state money will come their way at all for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

“There are only a few months left in this fiscal year,” said Williams. “And we really just don’t have any expectation that a budget’s going to be passed, and that they’re going to retroactively refund any of it when a budget IS passed. We think realistically, as an organization, we have to function as if we’re not going to see that 200-thousand dollars at all, ever.”

Williams says RACES laid off staff this year, while running an emergency fundraising campaign that raised about $40,000 in donations from the community. That’s allowed the agency to stay open on a reduced scale… still providing counseling and legal assistance for victims of sexual assault, abuse and harassment, plus related education programs.

”So we’re not getting into quite as many schools,” said Williams. “We can’t take on as many counseling clients, which is really sad for us, because our waitlist is getting longer, and we really don’t want to have a waitlist. So, we’re still offering the same services we’ve always offered, but the capacity we have is lower.”

Story source: WILL