Ohioans in crisis need more state support
Posted May 21, 2019 in Press Releases
Policy Matters calls for funding to address domestic violence, addiction, hunger, mental health and housing challenges
Policy Matters Ohio today released three Budget Bites calling for Ohio lawmakers to prioritize funding to support Ohioans battling with mental health or addiction challenges, fleeing domestic violence, or struggling to afford the basics like food and shelter.
Despite progress last year, Ohio still suffers from one of the worst drug epidemics in the nation. The two-year budget submitted by Governor DeWine and passed by the House boosted funding for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services by just over $259 million. Both budgets increase funding to county Alcohol Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Boards, crisis stabilization networks and programs to help non-violent drug offenders remain in their communities instead of going to jail. The House added $125 million to DeWine’s $550 million investment in wraparound services to help K-12 students affected by poverty, trauma, health and mental health issues.
“Governor DeWine and the Ohio House showed they want to assist people struggling with addiction or mental illness by putting more resources into helping them get well,” said Policy Matters researcher Will Petrik. “We hope to see a similar commitment in the Senate budget.”
Today, Ohio lacks sufficient funding for domestic violence programming. With little state support, Ohio’s network of domestic violence shelters and other services relies heavily on federal funds and fees. The state budget as passed by the House adds $1 million a year in state dollars from the General Revenue Fund. The new money can be used for shelters, hotlines, victim advocacy, and education to prevent domestic abuse.
“Even with the new state money, Ohio is still far behind other states when it comes to supporting domestic violence programs,” researcher Michael Shields said. “The Senate needs to retain the new funds in the House budget. Over time, the state should pick up a larger share of what is now borne by local governments and increase funding to be consistent with other states.”
The Ohio Association of Foodbanks serves one out of every six Ohioans and need an additional $10 million annually to meet growing demand for food assistance. While homelessness increased by 20 percent over the past five years in Ohio, funding for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund, which helps people afford safe, stable housing, has declined.
“The House budget makes investments in some areas, but doesn’t do enough to meet people’s basic needs,” Petrik said. “We urge the Senate to make additional investments in food and housing to ensure more Ohioan can live with security and stability.”