It’s been a bad year for people in Illinois–especially those who are most vulnerable. Without a budget, the social safety net has been torn to shreds. Lutheran Social Services eliminated 30 programs and laid off workers. Catholic Charities is considering lay-offs and program cuts as well. MAP (Monetary Assistance Program) grants for low-income college students have been suspended. Chicago State University may not survive the semester. And if you are homeless and you thought things couldn’t get worse… think again.
The $310 million the State of Illinois set aside in a special fund to provide housing for homeless youth, fund supportive housing, and provide rental assistance for low-income families will not be disbursed unless the legislature passes a special bill–and that is questionable. The funds are sitting there, ready to be used. But the funds may end up being “swept” into the general fund to help fill the budget deficit. The Biblical phrase that comes to mind is, “Woe! Woe to you, Springfield!” OK, so it doesn’t say, “Springfield”, but it could.
Read more about the budget impasse and the impact on homeless individuals and families HERE.