JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Women's Center of Jacksonville helps women in our community get back on their feet after hardship, but now vital funding is on the line for one of its programs.
"Some of them are sleeping in cars. We have some at Sulzbacher, some are sleeping on friends' couches," said Cheryl Anthony, a mental health counselor at the Women's Center of Jacksonville.
They are heartbreaking stories. But they're also tales of hope. One woman at a time, counselors like Anthony are changing lives. It's why she does what she does, even though most days it isn't easy.
"I love to see the look on their face as they change. You can see that in 30 days. They become totally different people," she said.
A new program started in March helps women just out of jail re-enter society and the working world. Already, 46 local ladies have benefited. But they could be the last.
"It's less than $200,000 that we're asking for," said education director Christine Tyler.
It is a seemingly small price tag. But the mayor's proposed city budget for next year doesn't include it due to necessary budget cuts, the mayor said.
It's a dagger through the heart of Anthony and all she's worked to accomplish here. She knows where the women will end up.
"Back on the street, they all say that. Back on the street," she said.
"It says that they're not worthy of being served," Tyler said.
They aren't going down without a fight because they said what happens behind closed doors benefits not just the women but their entire community.
"A third of all people who come out of jail or prison re-offend within a year. So if we can keep them employed, keep them stabilized in the community, they're going to be successful," said Tyler.
City council will vote on the full budget Sept. 24.