A new survey conducted by United Way of Illinois, the statewide association of 52 local United Ways and the largest non-governmental funder of health and human services in the state, shows Illinois’ year-long budget impasse continues to starve the nonprofit sector and cause harm to vulnerable citizens across the state.
In the fourth United Way of Illinois survey, more than half of safety net and mental health providers responded that they have been unable to meet the needs of clients for the past year. Survey respondents also indicated that the disruption in services will have long-term effects on the people they serve as extended waiting lists, the elimination of programs and triaging of clients mean more people are moving into crisis situations. The mentally ill who are not getting psychiatric services go to emergency rooms or jails and some of the young people who aren’t in out-of-school time and job training programs become involved in the criminal justice system.
Organizations have been unable to come close to filling the gap left by the state through additional fundraising efforts and have been forced to take extreme measures in order to continue serving clients. Agencies reported cutting back or eliminating vital programs, draining cash reserves and credit lines, laying off staff and considering the possibility of shutting their doors entirely.
Click for the full survey results