United Way of Illinois Survey Reveals Major Cuts To Human Service Programs

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ILLINOIS – A new survey conducted by United Way of Illinois shows the budget impasse having a deep impact on its human service programs and its human service sector overall.

The statewide association of 52 local United Ways and largest non-governmental funder of health and human services in the state reports results from the third state-wide survey that indicate its human services are suffering.

The survey was conducted January 6 – January 13, 2016. Responses were received from 444 human service agencies across every county in Illinois.

Services that responded ranged from youth development to emergency housing to employment training.

Officials say the agencies are reaching a tipping point in trying to deliver services and maintain operations amidst continued uncertainty due to the budget impasse. These agencies are reporting shuttering programs, significantly reducing the number of clients they can serve, draining cash reserves and going further into debt by utilizing lines of credit.

23 percent of these agencies also reported that should the budget crisis continue through March, they would struggle to operate at existing levels.

Chairman of United Way of Illinois Kristi Long says with this being the seventh month without a state budget, there is damage being done to the families the United Way supports.

“Disabled children need critical support, adults who want and need employment need job training and people who require mental health care and medication need those services,” Long says.

United Way of Illinois released these other key findings, as of January 2016:

  • 85% of survey respondents reported cutting the numbers of clients they serve, up from 34% in July 2015
  • 84% of survey respondents reported cutting programs; since July 2015:
    • Cuts to programs supporting the mentally ill have risen from 3% to 25%
    • Cuts to programs supporting the disabled have risen from 3% to 29%
    • Cuts to programming supporting seniors, children and adults seeking education or jobs have more than tripled

United Way organizations gathered in Springfield on Tuesday, January 26, to discuss these findings and share with government leaders the current and long-term implications of the budget impasse.

The full survey results can be found here.

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