Cold Weather Collection for Those in Need

The Sparrow Coalition invites area families, organizations, Sunday School classes and youth groups to collect toiletries and cold weather items for those in need. You can choose to collect just one item from the list, or whatever works best for your community. Items collected can be given to the Sparrow Coalition for distribution to homeless and vulnerable individuals in our area. Please collect through November 7, 2017. Contact the Sparrow Coalition at 314-669-1577 or when your collection is complete so arrangements for pick-up can be made. 

Click Here for a Printable List of These Needed Items


Youth Help Restore Housing for Homeless

For sale signs are coming down and paint is going up on apartments that will become housing for low-income residents in Southern Illinois.

“It felt really good for us to walk past a for sale sign to paint an apartment and know that the sign was coming down; to know that a disabled resident would now have an affordable place to live because people in Southern Illinois care,” said Marleen Shepherd, Sparrow Coalition communications director.

Selling off property was one way that the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless stayed afloat during the year in which it received no state funding due to the Illinois budget impasse. In order to keep people in their homes, the agency was forced to sell some of its vacant property, reduce staff, and suspend services. But thanks to the efforts of private citizens, some apartments are now coming off the market and instead are being fixed up for new residents.

Area youth joined those of all ages in helping to clean up and paint apartments for new residents, which will continue throughout the fall. Youth were also among those who raised funds this summer for the organization. The Youth Group of Grace United Methodist Church in Carbondale spearheaded the Summer Youth Fundraiser with Sparrow Coalition.

The group raised $1,006.23 in cash to directly benefit the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, and they collected 1,500 items to distribute to Carbondale’s two emergency shelters, The Women’s Center and Good Samaritan Ministries.

The summer fundraiser not only raised cash and goods, it also raised awareness of the importance of these organizations to the region, Shepherd said.

“Their efforts are greatly multiplied as we see an increase in private donations due to the awareness they raise. So really what they’re doing has a ripple effect with wide, wide impact. People are also reminded of how important these services are, and that they are still struggling due to Illinois’ budget fiasco, and will for some time.”

The temporary stop-gap budget means human services are only receiving about 65 percent of full funding, Shepherd said. Not enough for normal operations or to make up for lost services or rehire staff.

“We are working really hard to turn that around,” Shepherd said. The Sparrow Coalition is continuing to raise funds for the restoration of vital services to homeless coalition residents. All funds raised online in the month of August will go directly to the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless.

Sparrow is also inviting other youth groups and clubs to organize fundraisers this fall. Groups can come up with their own plan, or use Grace’s model. The Grace youth group collected money and items needed by local shelters outside of area grocery stores over three days in July.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when we started this project,” said Jaci Arthur, youth director for Grace United Methodist Church. “I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming, positive response from those in our community. It was amazing seeing the community come together to help others. Every little bit truly did add up, and that one toothbrush or thirty cents really can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless Director Camille Dorris says she is thankful for those in the community who have raised funds and volunteered in order to help give people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless a fresh start. “Affordable housing, along with services that help people raise themselves up and overcome barriers and pitfalls, is so important to ending the cycle of homelessness.”

Those who are in interested in fundraising or in volunteering can contact the Sparrow Coalition at Those who would like to make a donation can do so at or by mail to Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, 801 N. Market, Marion, IL.

SICH sign


Youth Fundraiser

Youth Fundraiser Banner with Text

Area youth will be collecting donations and needed items to help three of our Homeless Service providers, which have been decimated during the last year in which social service organizations received no state funding. They will be collecting this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (July 21-23) at the Murphysboro and Marion Wal-Marts. Any youth who would like to help are welcome to let us know at Stop by for as long or as little as you can!

Monetary donations will benefit the key provider of low-income housing in the region, the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless. Donation of items will go to the Women’s Center and Good Samaritan Ministries, and toward making care packages for those in need. You can drop off items Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the stores. We will also be collecting items through August 7, and pick up is available by contacting

We are very grateful for our youth who care for the well-being of others, and we hope that everyone can help in some way. Thank you!

YF Care Package Items

You may also make a tax-deductible donation directly to Youth Fundraiser c/o Sparrow Coalition, 306 W. Monroe St., Carbondale, IL 62901 or online at

Southern Illinois Youth Project

We are local youth on a mission to help the homeless and less fortunate here in our community. All of the items we receive during this endeavor will be given to the Good Samaritan House and the Women’s Shelter. All monetary donations will be given to the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless. Jackson County currently has a poverty rate of 30.4%, and Williamson County is at 15.8%. The Sparrow Coalition is working with organizations like the Good Samaritan House and SICH to help our neighbors in need, but these organizations need our help and support. Please help us help them!

Give generously to youth who will be standing outside of local shops raising funds and collecting needed items on July 21, 22, and 23 for our three main providers of housingGood Samaritan House, the Women’s Center, and Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless. 

Items Needed for Care Packages:

Travel Size:                       For kids/teens:

Deodorant                             Small toys

Tooth brush                         Books

Toothpaste                           Purses

Comb/Brush                         Wallets

Razor                                     Nail Polish

Shaving Cream                   Other prizes

Shampoo                           Other items:

Conditioner                          Diapers

Soap                                      Baby Wipes

Wash cloth                    Socks (all sizes)


Are your youth interested in participating? Contact organizer Jaci Arthur for more information at

Also, if your church, business, or organization is willing to participate, let us know. We very much hope everyone can get involved in helping these organizations continue their important work in these difficult times. Every bit helps. Thank you!

You may also make direct tax-deductible donations through Sparrow’s GoFundMe Account at or send to Sparrow Coalition, 306 W. Monroe St., Carbondale, IL 62901 with “Youth Fundraiser” in the memo line.


Sparrow Supports Social Services in Lawsuit


June 8, 2016


Sparrow Coalition Joins Amicus Brief Supporting Social Services

The Sparrow Coalition was among 19 organizations that filed a “friend of the court brief” in support of social service providers who have not been paid during the state budget impasse. The suit, filed against Gov. Bruce Rauner and state agencies, demands that the State follow through on contractual obligations to pay for services provided without compensation during the Illinois budget impasse. The lawsuit is being brought by Pay Now Illinois, a coalition of 82 provider agencies who have contracts with the state to provide social services. More than $130 million is owed for 11 months of unpaid work, the coalition claims. A hearing has been set for July 13.

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law  filed the “friend of the court” (amicus) brief on behalf of 13 individual organizations and six coalitions representing nearly 600 additional organizations throughout Illinois that depend on partial funding by the state, which has failed to pay providers.

“The amicus brief provides the court with context for the contractual dispute: the devastating real-world impact of the budget impasse on Illinois residents as the State forces providers to reduce—and in some instances eliminate entirely—vital services that families and individuals rely on for their very well-being and livelihood,” the center reported.  “Collectively, the friends of the court represent more than 544,000 individuals, including low-income, elderly, and disabled people, throughout Illinois.”

You can read the full Amicus Brief here. The Sparrow Coalition’s filing is below.

“The Sparrow Coalition is a community partnership of social service organizations, Southern Illinois University researchers and students, civic leaders, faith communities, and others. The coalition works to connect existing resources and community stakeholders for solutions to the problems of poverty and homelessness in Southern Illinois. Organizations with involvement include the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless; Centerstone; Good Samaritan Ministries; Southern Illinois University; Shawnee Healthy Families; and the Carbondale Interfaith Council. Participating individuals specialize in services and support for the homeless and persons living in poverty in Southern Illinois, especially in and around Carbondale. The Sparrow Coalition was originally founded to help address a shrinking social service apparatus in Southern Illinois by bringing together stakeholders in the fight against poverty. In that role, the Sparrow Coalition helps members of the network identify problems held in common, seeks out additional resources to bolster access to the range of services that homeless and low-income individuals need, and draws attention to severity of poverty-related issues facing communities in Southern Illinois.  The budget impasse and corresponding nonpayment of contracts has forced members to pull back from the Coalition to focus more on day-to-day survival for their group. Sparrow’s mission has been fundamentally altered by the non-payment to its members. Sparrow current focuses on ensuring its members’ survival, with the intention that preventing the complete shutdown of more agencies can avoid permanent damage to area’s social services infrastructure.

Three Carbondale-based homelessness service providers are now working month-to-month without any guarantees for continued existence. Good Samaritan Ministries, The Women’s Center, and The Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless have turned to private funders as their only way to stay open. However, Southern Illinois does not have a sufficient source of large private donors to support large-scale fundraising. The Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless is expected to close as a result, meaning a major and likely permanent loss of low-income housing for 83 residents. The agency has already made layoffs, completely suspended services, and sold off property in order to keep residents in their homes.

To continue serving their populations, several Sparrow partners have cut staff and services. Some Coalition partners have seen a complete depletion of reserve funds. They have discussed these challenges with local municipalities, which acknowledge that local governments lack the resources and expertise necessary to fill the gaps left by service providers. It is unlikely that there will be sufficient police and other municipal services to confront the challenges posed by homelessness, mentally ill, and other populations who would typically be served by social service organizations that are now underfunded.

A partnership between the Carbondale Public Library and Sparrow members from the SIU School of Social work saw a pilot program designed to help those in poverty access services jump dramatically after a much broader subset of the population was cut off from services, resulting in a group accessing those services that was larger than originally intended. In one close-to-home case of unpaid bills affecting Sparrow, a social work student who volunteered with the coalition lost significant income from contractual work he did providing transportation to Addus HomeCare clients when that program was defunded. He was forced to seek local services himself, and find odd jobs to avoid homelessness for his family. Although childcare funding was eventually restored, SIU students and low-income residents in Southern Illinois had to drop out of college and lost jobs before funding was restored.

Many people are employed by social service providers in Southern Illinois, or rely on social services such as child care funding, to maintain their employment. When those services are forced to lay off staff, individuals to whom Sparrow is directly connected suffer the consequences of Illinois’ failure to pay.”

The Shriver Center reports these statewide consequences:

  • Organizations providing vital services to immigrant and refugee communities throughout the state have laid off approximately 200 employees and have closed down programs that assist immigrants with their English skills and their citizenship applications. Two organizations shut their doors. Programs created to assist migrant farm workers secure Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits have closed.
  • Organizations throughout the state have seen a tremendous reduction in available mental health services. Hotlines established to handle landlord-tenant matters are being inundated with callers in need of mental health counseling. The wait time for residential substance abuse treatment has increased from two or three weeks to approximately ten weeks. Virtually all supportive services have been cut for clients who live in supportive housing and private market rental housing.
  • The number of agency nursing home ombudsmen, who protect nursing home residents, has been reduced by as much as 60 percent. Organizations helping senior citizens combat elder abuse have also been forced to reduce staff.
  • Eight home-care agencies employing 2,500 homecare aides have closed or withdrawn from the Illinois Department of Aging Community Care Program, which jeopardizes vital care for 3,000 disabled and elderly clients and more are at risk of closure.

“We hope the court acts in the interest of Illinoisans and compels payment for these services. But our state government should not be run through court orders. Our state must honor its contracts, keep its promises and provide for the common good of its people in the ordinary course of its business. This demands enactment of a fully funded budget now,” says John Bouman, President of the Shriver Center. “This cannot wait until after the next election or some other uncertain future date. Illinois and its people need a fully funded budget; we needed it yesterday and it must happen today.”

Joining the brief in support of Pay Now Illinois are Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Housing Action Illinois, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Sparrow Coalition, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Center for Changing Lives, Communities United, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, ONE Northside, The Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois, Service Employees International Union – Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, The Grassroots Collaborative, Voices for Illinois Children, LAF, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, and Prairie State Legal Services.

Attachment: Amicus Brief 

This Image for Use For May2016 Forum

Poor Health: Health Consequences of Extended Poverty was the topic of discussion at the May 25th meeting of the Community Forum: Challenges of Poverty in Carbondale, at the Carbondale Public Library, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

‘Poor health’ might well be the answer to the question: How are the people of Southern Illinois doing these days? 

Indeed, such were the findings of the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment presented by Angie Bailey, Community Benefits Manager of Southern Illinois Healthcare, who will participated. The goal of the tri-annual assessment is to determine the most significant health issues in the area and how to improve them.

The report cited three major health issues in Southern Illinois – cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health, each of which requires different approaches, according to Bailey.

Ms. Baily was joined in the discussion by Miriam Link-Mullison, Chief Administrator for Jackson County Health Department, who as one of the leaders of the Healthy Southern Illinois Delta Network of regional county health departments, too, helped us understand the state of health of residents in our region.

Yet, for those of us following the long-term impact of regional poverty, the health status of our fellow citizens, are not surprising given the strong tie between health conditions, race and socio-economic status  Indeed, according to a recent report by researchers at the University of California School of Medicine: “Socioeconomic status is the most powerful predictor of disease, disorder, injury and mortality we have.”

And, according to the 2016 Illinois Poverty report, conducted by the Social Impact Research Center of Heartland Alliance, 7 of the 11 most southern counties of Illinois were issued poverty warnings.

The role of explaining the consequences of multigenerational poverty in our region fell to Dhrubodhi Mukherjee, Associate Professor in the SIU School of Social Work, who, too, has his finger on the pulse through his efforts to advance collaborations with local health agencies to deal with the health issues cited in Community Health Needs Assessment.

The Forum is organized by SIU’s Imagining Geographies, Carbondale Public Library, and the Sparrow Coalition.

For more information, contact Imagining Geographies facilitator, Peter Lemish, at (618) 534-3989.

April Poverty Forum – Sustainbility

Sustainability April 2016


Sustainability for All Species: Insights for Communal Approaches to Poverty

April 20, 2016, 5:30 – 7:15 PM ~ Carbondale Public Library

Taking its lead from proximity to Earth Day, the upcoming meeting of the Community Forum on Poverty will focus on two questions:  Why should we insure the sustainability of all species?  What communal actions can be taken to insure their sustainability in our community?

The program will begin with screening of a Native American perspective in The Teachings of the Grass, by Robin Kimmerer, a plant biologist of Potawatomi ancestry. This will be followed by short presentations and panel discussion by several of SIU’s engaged scholars, who study sustainability from broad perspectives.

NOTE: We will be posting informative resources that can be accessed in advance of this meeting, or after, to learn more about the perspectives shared by our presenters via the Imagining Geographies website:


  1. Screening of Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of the Grass. 2015 Bioneer presentation by Robin Kimmerer, SUNY Native American plant biologist.

Indigenous peoples worldwide honor plants, not only as our sustainers, but as our oldest teachers who share teachings of generosity, creativity, sustainability and joy. By their living examples, plants spur our imaginations of how we might live. By braiding indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with modern tools of botanical science, Robin Kimmerer, professor of Environmental Science and Forestry, of Potawatomi ancestry, explores the question: “If plants are our teachers, what are their lessons, and how might we become better students”?

  1. Opening statements by presenter-panelists regarding session’s main questions: Why should we insure the sustainability of all species?  What communal actions can be taken to insure their sustainability in our community?
  • Professor Karen Renzaglia (Plant Biology).
  • Geory Kurtzhals, SIU Sustainability Coordinator.
  • Associate Professor Sarah Lewison (Radio, Television & Digital Media).
  • Brent Ritzel, solar project developer & co-director Fuller Future Festival (SIU alum)
  • Associate Professor Jonathan Gray (Communication Studies).

3. Panel Discussion

4. Comments, Q & A with audience members and fellow panelists



The Community Forum Series – Challenges of Poverty is a project of the Sparrow Coalition in conjunction with Carbondale Public Library and the Imagining Community project of SIU’s Imagining Geographies.  All sessions are recorded and posted on both the Sparrow Coalition & Imagining Geographies websites/YouTube channels.

Contact:    Peter Lemish, Facilitator, Imagining Geographies     (618) 534-3989.

Working with the Vulnerable

Community Forum on Poverty Working with Vulnerable Children, Youth & Adults in Jackson County March 23rd, 5:30 p.m. Carbondale Public Library

About the presenters:

Shannon Butler is a Carbondale native. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and is serving as the first social work intern at the Carbondale Public Library, serving clients and developing a groundbreaking library service while completing her master’s degree in Social Work at SIU. She also volunteered as a Living Book in the library’s Human Library, where she shared her own story of childhood homelessness.

Melinda Pierson has been a school social worker at Carruthers Elementary in Murphysboro since 2010. In this role, she provides counseling, behavioral and educational interventions, and parental support, as well as engages in advocacy and helps meet the basic food, health, shelter and clothing needs on behalf of her students. Carruthers is a Title I school that serves Kindergarten through 5th grade, with a racially, ethnically and economically diverse student body of over 400 students. Prior to becoming a social worker, Melinda was involved in policy and politics at the state level in North Carolina, as well as in various economic development and environmental nonprofits in an advocacy role for over a decade.



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.

Mahoney Transitional Living CLOSED DUE TO BUDGET IMPASSE The homeless shelter for youth in Rosiclare operated by the Family Counseling Center closed in February 2016.

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 CutsThe 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.”

If you know of affected local services, or have updates to report, please contact us at