Fewer Services Available to Illinoisans Due to Budget Crisis

Dec 08, 2010, 13:00 ET from Illinois Partners for Human Service

Reductions Hit Just As Services Needed Most

CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Illinois' children, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are homeless are suffering as Illinois' human service organizations cut essential programs, reduce hours and curtail levels of service in the face of Illinois' budget crisis. In a new survey that gauges the impact of the crisis on critical services in Illinois communities, more than half of responding Illinois' human service organizations report taking actions that reduce access to vital programs and services. Four in ten responding organizations report expanded waiting lists for services, and more than a quarter report that they have closed programs due to budget cuts.

The survey also demonstrates that the impact of the financial crisis on people receiving human services is remarkably similar across Illinois regardless of region or organizational size.  Nearly all responding organizations (95%) stated they had been affected in some way by the crisis.

"Illinois residents who need help have been on the chopping block at budget time for many years. Now we can see the results: fewer children in child care; fewer after-school programs for teens; less help for people to get and keep jobs; and less assistance for those with mental illness or developmental disabilities, and the elderly," said Judith Gethner, director for Illinois Partners for Human Service, one of the survey's sponsors.

Of the human service organizations responding to the survey

  • 53% reported reduced hours or levels of service
  • 41% reported increasing waiting lists
  • 49% reported staff layoffs
  • Among those who had to institute layoffs, on average, organizations laid off 13% of their staff.

"We need a balanced approach and shared responsibility for solving the state's financial crisis. Our children, seniors, and other needy residents have already contributed more than their fair share," Gethner added.

The state of Illinois contracts with nonprofit organizations to provide the majority of its human services including child care; after-school programs for teens; skills training or help finding jobs; counseling for victims of sexual or domestic abuse; assistance for those with mental illness and developmental disabilities; in-home care for the elderly.

The survey was conducted by Illinois Partners for Human Service and Illinois Collaboration on Youth, which analyzed the data along with the Social IMPACT Research Center of Heartland Alliance. The survey was sent to approximately 1,000 organizations, of which 282 responded. Organizations responding employ a total of 30,240 people full time and 17,095 part time and have a combined operating budget of more than $2 billion annually.

SOURCE Illinois Partners for Human Service