- Published: Wednesday, April 06, 2016 04:53 PM
As Illinois begins its 10th month without a budget, local senior service providers continue to feel the burden. Many organizations have called out to legislators to voice their concerns.
Senior Services Plus, an Alton organization that serves over 30,000 people a year, met with State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) last week to outline just how the impasse continues to affect the communities they serve.
“When I met with Senior Services Plus last year, the situation was bad,” Haine said. “Fast forward a year later, this situation is dire. What is even more frustrating is this was an avoidable situation. I don’t know if Governor Rauner understands what happens when he vetoes funding for services that help seniors. It means people go without food, they are forced out of their homes and into assisted living facilities, and their quality of life diminishes.
“We have sent the governor a budget that would have allowed our seniors to continue to receive the care they need. I hope he will keep this in mind before vetoing another plan to help our senior citizens.”
The organization also attended a rally at the Capitol in Springfield on Tuesday in an effort to call on legislator and the governor to pass a budget.
Jonathan Becker, the executive director SeniorServices Plus in Alton, spoke at the rally and noted that many senior service providers have been forced to shut their doors due to lack of funding.
“We are owed millions of dollars, and the pressure has become insurmountable,” said Becker. “I don’t know how much longer we can carry on.”
Seniors who attended the rally also voiced their frustrations and noted the importance of the centers in their communities.
John Cannella, a client of Senior Services Plus, said he relies on the organization for his health, welfare and social life. Without them, Cannella noted, he would be lost.
Senate Democrats passed a spending plan in March that would allow for organizations such as Senior Services Plus to stay open and for people like John to continue receiving these vital services. The measure is currently in the House awaiting a vote.