Is the Budget Crisis Real? Look at the numbers.

From Access Living’s Director of Advocacy:

How do we know the Illinois budget crisis is real? Let’s look at the
numbers.

Yesterday, the United Way announced the results of a statewide survey focusing on the Illinois budget crisis. Of 544 human service providers across the state:

• 84% of respondents have cut the number of clients they serve (up from 34% in July)
• 79% of respondents have cut programs, most impacting children and working adults

Survey findings also highlight the measures that human service agencies reported taking to maintain operations and serve clients during the stalemate.

• 31% of respondents have one month or less of cash reserves (8% of agencies have already utilized their full cash reserves)
• 25% of agencies have tapped into lines of credit, and of those, 58% are more than $50,000 in debt as a result of the impasse
• 22% of agencies have been forced to layoff staff

The United Way had previously done a human service survey in July, and this is the follow up survey. Clearly, our state budget crisis is deepening in ways that are bad for Illinois.

To read the United Way press release, go to this link .

As I have stated in previous Advocacy Alerts, those of us who work for Centers for Independent Living (CILs)know that not only are state-funded services at risk for the people with disabilities we serve, but we (CILs) are facing hard choices. Some CILs have furlough days. Some have had to lay off people. Others have had to freeze hiring for open positions. Northern Illinois Center for Independent Living (NICIL) is closed till there is a state budget. Other CILs may find themselves in the same position. Week by week, we CILs as well as other human service providers are finding ourselves with tougher and tougher choices.

Today, your state legislators are in session in Springfield. Please take action by using this easy link to send a message to your state legislators AND our Governor to pass a budget ASAP. You can edit the template letter to provide personal details about why the budget crisis matters to you. We need not only a real budget that preserves critical human services, but we need a revenue solution that will fill the $5 billion hole in the Illinois budget. Every voice matters. Please take action today!

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living