The Justice Coalition, a Jacksonville organization that advocates for families affected by violent crimes, claims their state funding has been cut in half and they are in danger of shutting down.
The nonprofit started in the River City in 1995.
A hallway at their Lane Avenue South office is filled with pictures of slain and missing men, women, and children. For their employees and volunteers, it's a constant reminder why their presence is needed on the First Coast.
"The victims of the crimes are set aside and it seems like the criminal has all the rights and the victims have no rights, whatsoever," Vice Chairman Ray Pringle says. "But the Justice Coalition makes sure the victims of these violent crimes have rights, too."
However, Pringle says the nonprofit which usually gives help now needs it.
"The funding that we had has been cut in half. We were receiving $300,000 from the state and the new legislator has cut it down to $150,000," Pringle says.
Pringle says even the reduced funding seems to be in peril.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved the 2017-18 fiscal year budget Friday. Scott cut $410 million in funding to different ventures he claims operations cost outweigh the benefits to Floridians.
Scott called a legislative special session to address his multi-million dollar cuts. Pringle says Scott could decide to cut more of the money from the organization.
"The folks that do such a wonderful job for the victims of these violent crimes in taking them through the court proceedings, giving them guidance and prayer, and food, and a lot of other things that they do that is just very vital to these folks," says Pringle.
The organization is calling on the community for donations. If you would like to help, click here.
The Justice Coalition will also host a fundraiser on June 22 at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge on Beach Boulevard to help close the funding gap. The "Voices For Victims" breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m.
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