Santa Clara Co. eyeing huge increase in funding for domestic violence victim services

The proposed Santa Clara County budget was unveiled Thursday and it includes a dramatic increase in funding for domestic violence survivors.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and County Executive Jeff Smith announced Smith's proposed budget includes $5 Million in funding for domestic violence services, which is a 400 percent increase to where the funding is now.

"The reason we need more resources is we really want to provide support to people so if they choose to leave that relationship they have an option to get out," said Chavez.

The supervisor says the crisis hotlines in the county get 20,000 calls a year and that figure does not include calls to 911.

She also says there are about 60 shelter beds available in a county of 2 million people.

"It's difficult for people in crisis trying to snag one of those beds," said Adriana Caldera, the Chief Program Officer with YWCA Silicon Valley.

Caldera says the new funding could mean expanding services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, which include a 24-hour crisis hotline, along with legal and housing assistance.

She also says the money could possibly fund testing what would be a first-of-its kind service in the United States.

"There have been some models internationally where survivors stay in their home and the abusers are the ones forced to leave. So there could be some pilot funding for something like that," said Caldera. "It's just a really exciting opportunity."

The money allocated won't become official until the budget is approved by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in June.