Failure to pass a fully funded budget is obstructing the operations of these critical programs and services:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Illinois – CLOSED DUE TO BUDGET IMPASSE After 20 years, the Big Brothers Sister chapter that serves Jackson, Franklin, Union, Perry, and Williamson Counties ended March 1, 2016. The state of Illinois owes $4.5 million to Centerstone, the agency that managed the program. Centerstone is the largest behavioral treatment provider in the region. It provides mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and intellectual and developmental disabilities services in Illinois’ 27 southernmost counties. In July, the agency laid off 17 employees due to the budget stalemate.
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois – 750 positions, or 43 percent of its staff, were cut March 2016. That resulted in the loss of 30 programs due to $6 million owed by the state. Elimination of programs that provide senior care, mental health counseling, re-entry services for former prisoners, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation affects 4,700 people. Some programs, like foster care and disability services, have court mandates that force the state to pay. However, without a budget, programs such as the Prisoner and Family Ministry, which helps reintegrate felons into society, have not received funding. This service ended in Southern Illinois in January.
Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless – Provides HUD transitional housing and permanent housing in the lower 24 counties. The coalition stopped receiving Illinois Department of Human Services funding July 1. It has reduced home visits; reduced staff hours; sold off property that would have been used to house the homeless; and deferred repairs. The loss of state funding also put the agency at risk of losing federal funding, which provides the majority of the agency’s budget. HUD requires a match of $45,000.
Report from Executive Director Camille Dorris: “Without this DHS funding, we will not be able to meet our match requirements with HUD and may have to discontinue our affordable housing programs. This places 38 adults and 40 children at risk of being homeless again.”
Map Grant Funding and University Cuts–The Illinois Monetary Award Program grant payments were suspended pending approval of the budget. This resulted in a loss of $350,000 in MAP grants due to about 600 John A. Logan College students in fall 2015. In February 2016, the junior college located in Carterville announced cuts and layoffs totaling $7 million. In March, JALC laid off 55 employees, including 35 faculty, 15 staff members and five janitors.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale covered students’ MAP grants in fall 2015 semester, which were awarded to a third of SIU students and totaled $14 million; however, it could not cover the costs for the 2016 spring semester. More than 1,000 students dropped out as result. The biggest hit to the university came in having to hold off on posting graduate assistantships, resulting in the loss of 420 graduate students since last spring. A 2015 enrollment drop that led to a $5.3 million loss for the university, which combined with the loss of state revenue, resulted in $13.5 million in program cuts. A bill that would have restored $721 million in college funding was vetoed by the Governor in February.
SIU announced the “wholesale ending of programs” if the governor’s proposed FY17 budget cut of $40 million for the university is enacted.
SIU Small Business Development Center will close March 31. The center has not received $350,000, its yearly budget, from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. In 2014, the center helped create and retain more than 300 jobs throughout Southern Illinois, while assisting 45 entrepreneurs. The center employed six full-time employees and several student workers, all of whom will lose their jobs. Statewide there were more than 1,100 layoffs in Illinois in January, the bulk stemming from the state’s budget impasse, offshoring and retail store closures.
Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) – Provides state-subsidized daycare to low-income, working parents in Southern Illinois through the Child Care Assistance Program. Eligibility requirements for the program were raised by Gov. Bruce Rauner July 1, removing 90 percent of families who received the subsidy. In the southern fifteen counties, 317 families/ 497 children were denied child care assistance as of Oct. 30, according to Lori Longueville, director of Child Care Resource and Referral at John A. Logan College in Carterville. Ninety percent of recipients work full-time.
Statement from Director Lori Longueville, 11/2/15: “We are denying about 8 out of every 10 application received. As more and more families have heard about the restricted eligibility guidelines, less families are submitting applications. The number of applications being received in our office has been reduced to almost half of what was received before the changes. Not surprisingly, the counties hardest hit are also those with the greatest population (Williamson, Jackson, and Saline). 84.5% of those denied were single parent homes.”
UPDATE: Funding was partially restored in November following public pressure. More than 14,000 children are still ineligible for child care in Illinois.
Health Departments –Statewide, nearly half of health departments have implemented lay-offs, cuts to the length of the work week, reduced hours of operation, or reduced, suspended or terminated services. With exhausted cash reserves and lines of credit, the capacity of local health departments to respond to public health emergencies, like outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease, Ebola, or natural disasters like the recent floods downstate is at the breaking point. The Jackson County Health Department reduced hours and ceased operations on Fridays in September. The Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department has laid off a dozen employees blaming both the current state budget impasse and years of under-funding from Illinois. Combined the two Southern Illinois health departments are owed $1 million from the state, and will no longer be able to administer the mosquito abatement program.
Attucks Community Services, Inc. – This multicultural community agency located on the Northeast side of Carbondale, which serves low-income children and their families, has lost funding for Community Youth Services from the Illinois Department of Human Services. This has resulted in “staff reductions and loss of positions affecting the provision of after-school tutorials, community gardens program, health disparities, organizing neighborhoods of Lake Heights, Fields, Crossings Mobile Homes, and the Northeast in grassroots participation of the delivery of direct service and empowering members of their neighborhoods in addressing the social determinants of health,” Executive Director Abdul Haqq told the Sparrow Coalition. The agency is currently seeking community volunteers for after-school tutoring, and assistance with the organization’s website and newsletter.
The Boys & Girls Club of Carbondale – Lost Teen REACH funding July 1. This DHS grant provided operating support for a curriculum of prevention education, academic support, and positive youth development activities at the Club.
Statement to Sparrow Coalition from Director Randy Osborn, 9/16/2015: “We continue to deliver most of these activity blocks in adapted forms where we can. Some Boys & Girls Clubs elsewhere in Illinois have closed school- and housing-based sites completely due to grant loss and the budget impasse. We continue to seek private, organization, and business support to help replace the $30,000 funding loss. The IL Alliance of Boys & Girls Club is closely linked to the IL Afterschool Network and works with Voices for IL Children to advocate within state government for the needs of our youth.”
Caritas Family Solutions – This child welfare and family services agency has lost funding from Redeploy Illinois/DHS (via Union County contract) to provide intensive in-home services to youth at risk of commitment to the IL Department of Juvenile Justice.
Statement from Regional Director Michelle Bradley, 10/22/15: Since the program began almost two years ago, we have been successful in keeping young people in the home and out of juvenile prisons. Due to the budget stalemate, Union County is no longer able to financially sustain this program. Currently, Caritas Family Solutions is assuming the financial risk; however, we fear our ability to do so may run out before a budget is passed.
Delta Center – CLOSED DUE TO BUDGET IMPASSE Served 300 patients across Southern Illinois with mental and substance abuse disorders, HIV / AIDS, adolescents, DUI / DWI offenders, and criminal justice clients. The Family Counseling Center in Cairo took over the state permits for three of the eight Delta Center properties and retained 35 percent of its staff.
Energy Assistance Programs – Funds for two energy assistance programs are being delayed due to the budget impasse, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). LIHEAP assists eligible low-income households with heating and cooling energy costs, and with weatherizing homes. PIPP allows participants to pay a percentage of their utility bills based on their income. Local distributors of LIHEAP funds are Crosswalk Community Action Agency and Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council. Western Egyptian reports that it is completely out of funds for LIHEAP, and recommends that those eligible contact their power company.
UPDATE 9/16/15: Energy assistance will be available again in Jackson County through Western Egyptian EOC for these populations:
-As of October 1, individuals on Social Security age 60 or older.
-As of November 1, families that have a child under 6 years old or those who have received an emergency cut-off notice.
For more information, call 618-443-5231 or 618-457-0354 ext. 308.
Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center – Meth treatment program ended July 15. The program in the Benton detention center helped treat children in roughly 40 counties of Illinois for the past nine years.
Good Samaritan Ministries – Provides an emergency shelter, transitional housing, a soup kitchen, a food pantry, and an emergency assistance program in Carbondale, IL. Stopped receiving state funding July 1. In 2014, Good Samaritan Ministries received $106,376 from state sources, about 1/5 of its total funding. It is currently relying on private fundraising to make up for the budget shortfall.
Statement from Assistant Director Patty Mullen, 8/31/15: “This is a day-to-day struggle. We have put the message out on social media and have received a good response. We have also had people reach out to us with food donations and food drives for the Food Pantry as well as the Soup Kitchen. Currently we have 25 residents staying at the shelter and the transitional house. We have 14 employees, 3 of which are formerly homeless. Please reach out to your legislators and tell them it is imminent that they pass the budget. The donations we receive from the community make up a little over one-half of our budget. It is truly because of our supportive and caring community that we have kept our doors open since 1984. Thank you for your support through these trying times.”
People Against Violent Environments – After a closure of two months, the Centralia-based domestic violence center has reopened on a limited basis due to receiving payments for services it provided in 2014. The southeastern Illinois organization offers front-line services such as legal assistance for protective orders in five counties.
Senior Centers and Meals on Wheels – Funds for Meals on Wheels and other state elderly support programs are being withheld, leading some of Illinois’ senior centers to shut down, including two in Randolph County funded through the Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council. The agency oversees two additional senior centers in Southern Illinois and has laid off 20 employees. The Egyptian Area Agency on Aging doles out state and federal funds to senior centers in Illinois’ southernmost 13 counties, providing funding for Williamson County Programs on Aging and Senior Adult Services in Carbondale, among others. Executive director John Smith reported in the Southern Illinoisan, “It’s likely that many of our senior centers are going to shut their doors until we have a new influx of funding.” The City of Marion provided $10,000 to make up for the loss of state support of its Meals on Wheels program. The funds from the city will maintain the program through the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends April 30. It serves an average of 85 seniors per day.
SWAN, Stop Woman Abuse Now – CLOSED DUE TO BUDGET IMPASSE The Effingham-based nonprofit closed two shelters in Effingham and Olney. The agency provided a domestic violence shelter, homeless program, transitional housing, permanent housing, protective services for the elderly and adults with disabilities, legal advocacy, intervention services, support groups, and an information and assistance program.
The Women’s Center, Inc. – One of the first domestic violence shelters in the United States, and the region’s main provider of domestic violence services and advocacy, will be forced to close if the impasse stretches into 2016, according to Women’s Center Executive Director Cathy McClanahan. The agency receives nearly half its funding from the state.
Report to the Sparrow Coalition, 10/21/15: “Funds are used to pay personnel costs of 24 employees–including crisis workers who operate our 24-hour crisis line–and general operating costs of both our domestic violence and sexual assault programs. So far we have been able to maintain our level of services by utilizing local donations, fundraising, and some of our reserves; however, we will be forced to close our facility if the budget impasse continues into the new year. Survivors of domestic violence and their children will have no place to go to escape their abuse and feel safe or the resources they need to heal from the trauma of their abuse. Also, survivors of sexual assault will be left on their own to navigate through the systems such as hospitals, police departments, and the courts and they will not have the specialized counseling they need to heal from their assault.”
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