Senior Services PlusSpringfield, IL – As Governor Rauner’s proposed budget cuts for next year begin to unravel, social service organizations have begun to feel the effects.  Many of these organizations have called out to their local legislators to voice their concerns.

The proposed budget cuts will drastically reduce the amount of funding organizations throughout the Metro East receive, such as ARC, Challenge Unlimited, St. Johns and Senior Services Plus. Cuts would likely lead to layoffs resulting in less available care to the vulnerable populations they serve.

Theresa Collins, Associate Executive Director of Senior Services Plus said: “Our organization provides services to 38,000 people a year. The proposed cuts would mean taking an hour per week out of our clients’ care plans. Simply put, this means providing fewer services. So, what do we do? How do we make a humane decision? Do we not help them bathe? Do we not feed them? This is the reality we face.”

These outcries from similar organizations have been heard across the state. Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Representative Dan Beiser (D- Alton) have been holding meetings with these organizations in an effort to listen to their constituencies and the issues that are important to them in regards to the proposed 2016 budget cuts.

“Throughout the last couple months I have spoken with many organizations and have heard the very real implications of how the proposed budget cuts will impact them and the individuals they serve,” Haine said. “There is a real face to these cuts. Step inside any one of these organizations and you will see it.

“Now more than ever it is important to speak with the people in our communities so we can bring their concerns with us to the negotiation table. My job is simple, to work for the citizens of my district.”

Negotiations for the 2016 budget, which goes into effect July 1, have begun at the Capitol. With this in mind, Senior Services Plus held a rally earlier this month where they encouraged people to contact Republicans in Springfield who are proposing the very cuts that would cause similar organizations to close their doors.SSP Rally

Many of these organizations throughout the Metro-East are concerned that Republican lawmakers are not hearing their concerns, as they have not been very responsive to their needs, and have rejected invitations to visit their facilities. Some are even questioning their ideas on what constitutes critical services.

Debbie McMahon, Executive Vice President of Challenge Unlimited said, “It sounds like the governor has a very different definition of critical services than we do. It may be time to have an educational talk with Governor Rauner. We are working with vulnerable people who have no one but us. When we lose the ability to provide residential services, where do these people go? They go to the streets.”

With budget negotiations in full swing and the General Assembly set to adjourn May 31, it is likely the next few weeks will be long and arduous as Illinoisans await the outcome.

Category: News

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