Iowa AG seeks funding for abuse shelter changes


February 9th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is seeking $6 million from the Legislature as part of changes in how the state helps domestic abuse victims. Miller asked a judiciary subcommittee last week for the money as his agency seeks to reduce its emphasis on shelters seen as underused and expensive.

The attorney general’s office, which oversees domestic abuse and sexual assault programs, wants to close up to 12 of the 20 shelters. Money saved by that move would go toward hiring 98 more advocates, adding to the 271 people who now help victims.  Advocates would focus more on helping people find permanent housing and support.

Some lawmakers and shelter administrators say the change could be hard on women in rural areas, where there are few housing options.