CHICAGO, July 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Illinois human service providers urged Illinois lawmakers today to pass a balanced and fair 12-month budget that does not include deep cuts to human service programs. They also urged legislators to vote "no" on a bill to override Governor's veto of (S.B. 1197) which included cutting human services programs by 50 percent.
Meanwhile, providers around the state have begun to lay off staff and close offices.
"Unfortunately, we have no choice but to begin dismantling the state's infrastructure for helping those who are most in need - the mentally ill, elderly people living in their homes, teen moms, abused mothers, children in day care," said Nancy Ronquillo, executive director, Children's Home and Aid, and spokesperson for Illinois Partners for Human Services, a coalition of organizations providing human services throughout Illinois.
"Like any other business, we can't spend money we don't have and right now we don't have it," Ronquillo continued. "In previous years, social service agencies shrunk programs and drew upon private reserves to keep going. We were hurt last year when the state made cutbacks midyear in promised funding. It is our fiduciary responsibility to cut back now and not wait for a potential break-through in the revenue picture.
"What the Governor and the Legislature fail to understand is that human service programs which close are not easily re-opened when funding is made available and that a caring relationship between client and provider is damaged when ended abruptly," Ronquillo added.
To date, approximately 1,500 employees of human service agencies have received layoff notices. Illinois Partners for Human Services estimates these layoffs will impact services for approximately 150,000 Illinois residents.
Some examples include:
Children's Home and Aid. Approximately 78 employees laid off in Southern Illinois, Bloomington, Rockford, Metropolitan Chicago and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Affected services include: child care for working low-income families, help to troubled youth to keep them out of the criminal justice system, at-risk young mothers, early childhood programs for working low-income families, early childhood programming.
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights (Chicago). 20 employees laid off, impacting nearly 4,000 people. Affected services include mental health and substance abuse services, job placement for TANF recipients and homelessness prevention.
Metropolitan Family Services. 60 staff laid of from centers serving DuPage County, Evanston, Niles, and Maine Townships, Orland, Palos, Worth, and Calumet Townships, and 20 community areas in the City of Chicago including Belmont-Cragin, Chicago Lawn, Roseland, and South Chicago. They provided a range of services to individuals and families who are challenged by domestic violence, mental illness, economic insecurity, and caregiving responsibilities for infants through frail elderly.
Agencies are listing job cuts and impacted people at this website.
"Agencies serving the people of Illinois have been cutting services for ten years; we are at the bone. While we are ready to do our fair share, we urge the legislature and the governor to resist the temptation to reach for short term solutions that will simply create more problems down the road.
We urge the General Assembly to produce a balanced budget with sufficient revenues to fund needed human services, education, healthcare and other essential programs and avoid catastrophic cuts before it is too late," Ronquillo continued.
|SOURCE Illinois Partners for Human Service|
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