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Illinois Budget Impasse impact on Centers for Independent Living

A note from Access Living’s Director of Independent Living about the impact of the Illinois Budget Impasse on Centers for Independent Living

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Like many other human services providers, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) is being hit hard by the Illinois budget crisis. As most of you know, Access Living is one of the 22 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Illinois. The CILs serve 95 of the 102 counties in Illinois. INCIL’s Executive Director, Ann Ford, shared the following, based on reports from 19 of the 22 CILs, which employ between 450-500 people:

• 39 CIL staff have been laid off state wide since July 1, 2015
• 93 CIL staff are working reduced hours because of furlough
days, experiencing pay cuts ranging from 20% to 40%
• 21 vacant CIL positions remain unfilled throughout the state
(delaying hires is one way to save money)
• Two CILs are in the process of closing satellite offices
• All CILs are restricting travel, including in some areas travel
to consumers’ homes
• At least four CILs are developing contingency plans to close
in the event funding doesn’t come within the next six
months
• It is difficult to determine how many consumers have gone
without services. A reasonable estimate would be 800 to
1,000 people statewide
• The impact includes the enormous emotional toll this issue
is taking on staff at all CILs, as they take on increased
workloads while losing a portion of their income.

The Centers for Independent Living are doing the very best they can to continue to provide services to empower people with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community. Quite often they are a real lifeline for many people with disabilities. During this difficult state budget crisis, know that your local CILs have been doing everything they can to show why their programs matter to the local community. The CILs are still waiting for just over $4 million in FY 16 budget money for CILs from the state of Illinois, as well as other funds specific to certain disability programs they run.

While Access Living has been holding on, we are very concerned about our fellow CILs at risk of closing. Please contact Ann Ford at annford@incil.org if you have questions about the network; you can also check www.incil.org to see what CILs serve your area. We also urge you to contact your Governor, state senators and representatives to urge them to work on a budget solution ASAP so that disability services are not further impacted.

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living