Atlanta-based advocacy council faces crisis with $20M cut in federal aid

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday that the state will give more than $13 million.

Advocates for crime victims say that after federal cuts, this money is desperately needed.

After someone is the victim of a crime, it can take a lot of support to get them back on their feet.

That could look like legal aid, help with medical bills, or counseling.

Some of these programs took a massive hit due to a federal budget cut. Now, the state is stepping in. 

"If they call us, we’re going to be there for them and do everything we can," said Brooks Hunnicut, executive director of the Atlanta-based Crime Victims Advocacy Council.

She knows how important the work is firsthand. 

"I was physically attacked three times. I woke up here in Atlanta when I was a youngster, had my first apartment and there was a man on top of me with a knife at my throat," said Hunnicut.

The victims her organization often helps those who just need an advocate. 

"Here’s what we can do and here’s how your nervous system works, and you will get through this, and we’re here to stand beside you. I give them my cell phone number. They call me in the middle of the night if they need me," said Hunnicut.

But all of that has been put on the line by a nearly $20 million cut in federal aid to Georgia nonprofits that help victims. 

"We live from year to year worrying about cuts, but this year is the worst, most devastating ever seen in 20 years," said Hunnicut.

She says that was about three-quarters of her budget, but on Thursday, help came from the governor’s office. 

Gov. Brian Kemp says the state-run Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will get $3.2 million. 

"Those funds are the difference for us between life and death. We’re not a super-rich organization," said Hunnicut.

She says she still has to look into how her organization can qualify for that grant money. 

"When I make it through those things, I am so grateful just to be here. I’m grateful to know what I know, and I’m grateful I didn’t kill myself, and I’m grateful that I have the tools to help people," said Hunnicut.

Other types of organizations that could benefit from this money include shelters and child advocacy centers.

If you or someone you know has been a crime victim and could use help, here are some resources: