Seven months in, Illinois’ state budget impasse is causing great harm to our most vulnerable neighbors and the human service sector that serves them.
With increasing uncertainty, human service agencies are reaching a tipping point as they struggle to deliver services and maintain operations, according to a new survey by United Way of Illinois. Agencies reported shuttering programs, significantly reducing the number of clients they can serve, draining cash reserves and going further into debt by utilizing lines of credit.
As a statewide association is comprised of 52 local United Ways, United Way of Illinois surveyed human service agencies across every county in order to holistically understand the impact. Of the 444 respondents, 23 percent reported they will struggle to operate at existing levels if the budget impasse continues through March.
“It is our seventh month without a budget and there is real damage being done to our neediest children and families, and to our human services infrastructure,” said Kristi Long, chairman of United Way of Illinois, “Disabled children need critical support, adults who want and need employment need job training, and people who require mental health care and medication need those services.”
Completed in early January, this is the third survey conducted by United Way of Illinois on the state budget stalemate. Survey respondents represented a range of service categories including youth development, early childhood education, mental health, emergency housing, senior services and employment training and varied in budget size from less than $500,000 to more than $15 million.Read the full results to learn more about the consequences of the continuing budget crisis.