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Budget Crisis Update: Damage Continues to Grow

 ***TAKE ACTION*** Tell your lawmaker and the governor to end this budget crisis.

Today, the Fiscal Policy Center released an update to our September report outlining the devastating human impact the budget impasse continues to have on children, families and communities. The updated report provides a closer look at some of the pain the ongoing budget stand-off is causing in 60 service areas across the state, particularly for seniors, children and underserved families.

Illinois is now in its ninth month without a budget for the current fiscal year. Without an overall budget to govern appropriations for programs and services, court orders and federal pass through funding combined with piecemeal legislation have created a complicated web of spending authority that leaves out funding for critical programs serving people in every corner the of state.

That means that programs serving low-income children, seniors, and those with disabilities across the state have been forced to shut down. The failure of our elected officials to enact a state budget continues to dismantle the foundations of Illinois’ health and human service system, resulting in long-term damage to our state that will take years to repair.

Below are just a few other examples of the foreseeable and preventable results of not having a fully-funded budget.

  • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Services: The Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, a program that works with medical providers statewide to ensure that pregnant women who are HIV-positive deliver HIV-negative babies, will close its doors in October of 2016 unless funding is restored. The program saves the state about $35 million each year, and without it, there will be babies who could have been born HIV-negative that will be born HIV-positive.
  • The Autism Project of Illinois: Nearly 1,800 families across the state have either lost services or are at risk of losing critical autism services after TAP closed its doors on September 30, 2015. Previously, TAP was a national leader in providing services and supports to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One in 68 children has been identified as having ASD by the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Home-delivered Meals for Seniors: Roughly 3,200 seniors have lost home-delivered meal services statewide. In DuPage County, the DuPage Senior Citizens Council has cut program staff by 55% and has closed its community dining program. In Rockford, 250 meal slots have been eliminated, bringing the number of seniors on the wait list for meals to 400. The provider, Lifescape Community Services, reports serving 17,000 fewer meals in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the first quarter of 2015.
  • Sexual Assault Services and Prevention: All 29 agencies serving survivors of sexual assault have instituted furloughs and left staff vacancies unfilled. Agencies across the state have instituted waitlists for counseling services. One center reports 65 survivors are on a waiting list for critical trauma-centered sexual assault counseling services in Chicago alone.
  • Substance Abuse and Prevention Programs: Approximately 47,000 individuals across the state have been denied services or have had reduced service delivery, and most providers have a waiting list of 3 months or longer. That leaves many adults with substance abuse disorders at risk of entering the criminal justice system-a much more costly outcome for the state.
  • Centers for Independent Living: In FY14, Centers for Independent Living (CIL) served 95 of Illinois’ 102 counties, equipping people with disabilities with resources, supports, and skills to live independently. CILs across the state, including Chicago, Swansea, Joliet, and Alton, have instituted furloughs and layoffs, jeopardizing the roughly 63,430 direct services and information and referrals that were provided in FY14.
  • Support Services for Seniors: Home Care and Adult Day Care have been especially hard hit. Lutheran Social Services of Illinois closed 7 home care and adult day care centers, eliminating services for 2,355 seniors in Canton, Chicago, DeKalb, Freeport, Moline, Peoria and Rockford. LSSI also cut case management and adult protective services programs for 2,713 seniors in Sterling, IL. The lack of state investment in home care services leaves more than 25,000 seniors at risk of losing services across Cook andLake Counties.

Whether Illinois completely dismantles key service delivery systems is completely in the hands of Governor Rauner and the General Assembly. To prevent further damage to children, families, and communities, lawmakers and the governor need to take responsibility for funding our state’s priorities by restoring the revenue we need so that we can begin to repair the damage and put the people of Illinois first.

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