CHICAGO, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 the significant impact of the budget impasse on the human service sector and on citizens across the state.
"Illinois is now in its fourth month without a budget with no end in sight and no sense of urgency in dealing with what is, for our most at-risk citizens, a crisis," said Kristi Long, Chairman of United Way of Illinois. "These survey results highlight the failure of Illinois lawmakers to pass a budget needed to support essential human services in the state, resulting in the deterioration of the sector, affecting children, families and entire communities."
Key findings from the survey show that children, low-income families and the mentally ill continue to suffer the effects of the state budget impasse in Springfield.
- 84% of respondents have cut the number of clients they serve (up from 34% in July)
- 79% of respondents have cut programs, most impacting children and working adults
"Our state's most at-risk citizens are especially threatened, losing services that are critical to their basic quality of life," said Rory Washburn, Director of the Tri-City Building and Construction Trades Council. "The harm being done threatens our state's economic viability, which is counterproductive to the state's economic interests."
Survey findings also highlight the measures human service agencies reported taking to maintain operations and serve clients during the stalemate.
- 31% of respondents have one month or less of cash reserves
- 8% of agencies have already utilized their full cash reserves
- 25% of agencies have tapped into lines of credit, and of those, 58% are more than $50,000 in debt as a result of the impasse
- 22% of agencies have been forced to layoff staff
"Without a budget resolution, human service organizations are tapping into cash reserves, exhausting their reserves in some cases and finding it necessary to take out lines of credit. Further, the impasse is forcing them to layoff staff and reduce hours," said Paul La Schiazza, president, AT&T Illinois. "I'm not picking sides or casting any blame. However, to help people and families in need – and the human service agencies that are struggling to support them—Illinois needs a state budget resolution soon."
This is the second survey conducted by United Way of Illinois on the state budget stalemate. The survey was conducted September 28-October 2, 2015 with responses from 544 human services agencies across every county in Illinois. Survey respondents represented a range of service categories and varied in budget size from less than $500,000 to more than $15 million.
SOURCE United Way of Illinois