Congresswoman Cheri Bustos to Host Rockford’s Gary Halbach at President Obama’s Final State of the Union Address on Tuesday

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos announced that she will be hosting Mr. Gary Halbach, the President and CEO of the Rockford area non-profit Remedies Renewing Lives, at Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Every year, Remedies provides support for about 1,500 victims of domestic violence and 1,800 people for opioid treatment, primarily for heroin addiction.

However, during the past year, Remedies has faced significant challenges caused by the lack of a state budget in Illinois. In an Oct. 4th Rockford Register Star story, Halbach explained the devastating effect the lack of a State budget has had on their ability to help Illinoisans. Without state funding that they have counted on for years, there was suddenly a $400,000 hole in their budget.

Deeply concerned and seeking to help, Congresswoman Bustos visited Remedies at the end of October. Halbach told her that Remedies had no choice but to turn away 118 women and children seeking domestic violence assistance during the month of September because they simply couldn’t afford to help them.

Since then, a negotiation in Springfield restored funding for domestic violence programs like Remedies. However heroin addiction treatment has received no state support since July 1 when gridlock prevented a state budget from passing.

In December, Bustos voted for the Federal Omnibus bill, which included $480 million for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution programs, a record amount, $7 million for the anti-heroin task forces within the Community Oriented Policing Services program and $12 million for Justice Department grants for residential drug treatment.

On Wednesday evening, Bustos gave a floor speech calling for continued support to fight the scourge of heroin addiction, which you can watch below:

“I’m honored to welcome a leader who has worked tirelessly to help victims of domestic violence and individuals struggling with addiction to our nation’s Capitol, Mr. Gary Halbach,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “I cannot imagine anything more disheartening than a mother fleeing with her children to a domestic violence shelter only to be told that there’s no room because of gridlock in Springfield. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to 118 people who came to just this one shelter in Rockford during the month of September. While I’m pleased that the State’s domestic violence assistance funding has been restored, damage has been done. Additionally, funding for heroin addiction treatment is still being held hostage. To help stem this crisis from the federal level, I’m very proud to have voted to increase federal funding for programs like Remedies, but we must shine a light on these ongoing challenges if we are ever going to solve them.”

“2015 has been a very difficult year for all of us at Remedies with the state budget crisis hurting those who need our help the most,” said Gary Halbach, President and CEO of Remedies Renewing Lives. “When she learned about the challenges we were facing, Congresswoman Bustos reached out and offered to do everything in her power to assist us from a federal level. I am hopeful that President Obama will continue his commitment to driving down domestic violence and helping those afflicted with drug addiction in this year’s State of the Union address.”