A fight is underway over a massive budget cut that could hinder the work of Crisis Services, the local agency that connects those in need to an array of emergency services.
At a Tuesday morning press conference, State Senator Tim Kennedy presented a petition calling on state officials to restore a $300,000 budget cut mandated by the state Office of Victim Services.
"We stand with over 2,000 Western New Yorkers who have joined us in this fight, 2,000 Western New Yorkers signing our petition to protect Crisis Services, which for over 46 years has worked with victims in Western New York at times when they are at their most vulnerable," Kennedy said.
Among its many programs, Crisis Services provides a 24-hour hotline answered by professional counselors or trained volunteers. Those calling the hotline are connected with needed services or, if required, emergency intervention.
The Buffalo Police Department and the Erie County Sheriff's Department have offered their support in the budget fight.
"The Department of Victim Services in the state of New York is now hearing appeals from Crisis Services.," Kennedy explained.
"We believe very strongly that Crisis Services needs to be funded at the highest levels. This funding needs to be restored. There's over 8,000 people here in Erie County who will feel the impact of this loss of funding."