State Budget Crisis Hits Home

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Nonprofit advocates across the county call for an end to budget standoff and organize for action

dcnp-logoThe ongoing budget turmoil in Springfield is affecting residents of DeKalb County and local advocates are encouraging citizens to let their elected officials know and learn more at a community meeting at 7:30pm, November 5 at the DeKalb County Legislative Center, Gathertorium, 200 North Main Street, Sycamore, IL.

“There is no end in sight for the budget situation in Springfield,” said Dave Miller, Executive Director of Family Service Agency and Chair of the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership Research and Advocacy Committee. “The lack of funding is directly distressing families in DeKalb County and limiting the ability of human service organizations to carry out their vital work.

A recent survey by the United Way of Illinois shows that the funding crisis has caused some nonprofit organizations in DeKalb County to lay off staff, skip payroll and even close programs. More than a third of organizations surveyed are serving fewer people because of the stalemate.

“The cuts to day care and day care waivers have been devastating for clients we serve both in shelter/transitional housing and those that come in from the community,” said Mary Ellen Schaid, Executive Director of Safe Passage. “It is impossible for them to maintain a job if they have young children,” she added. “If they can’t work and sustain themselves and their children, they are often left with no choice but to go back to their abusers.”

Others have expressed similar challenges.

Tara Russo, Executive Director of Elder Care Services of DeKalb County is distressed about the residents and families who have recently lost services and support. She points to Mildred, who is 89, frail, unable to drive and resides with her daughter-in-law who works full time.

“Mildred thrived at the Adult Day Center in DeKalb she attended 8 hours a day, 4 days a week and enjoyed the socialization and activities. Now that the Center has been forced to close due to loss of funding, she is left socially isolated and her daughter-in-law has lost much needed respite and peace of mind provided by the Center” explains Russo.

Advocates from nonprofit organizations throughout the county are taking action. “We all know someone impacted by this crisis,” said Susan Petersen, Executive Director of Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C). “Friends. Family members. Neighbors. The stalemate has to end so we can restore services to the people who need it most right here at home.” Petersen continued, “Contact your Representative today. Contact the Governor and your Senator. Let them know your story and that you want them to restore services to those who need them.

Governor Bruce Rauner, Office of the Governor: 217-782-0244

State Representative Robert Pritchard (70th District): 815-748-3494

State Representative Tom Demmer (90th District): 815-561-3690

State Senator Dave Syverson (25th District): 815-987-7555

State Senator Tim Bivins (45th District): 217-782-0180

Residents, including public officials and the faith community can learn more about how the state budget crisis is directly impacting our community at a community economic crisis meeting at 7:30, Thursday, November 5 at the at the DeKalb County Legislative Center, Gathertorium, 200 North Main Street, Sycamore, IL.

“Plan by coming to discuss and organize for survival, and to organize to support all of our neighbors,” urges Dan Kenney, Executive Director of DeKalb County Community Gardens. “Ask yourself, what would we do if help were not on the way? Because even when the budget is resolved, and some money is released for social services, this is just the first battle. The cuts are not going to stop, the state financial crisis is going to continue, and it is clear that those who are going to suffer the most are the elderly, low-income, those with special needs, and those who struggle with food insecurity.”

For more information, contact members of the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership Steering Committee: Dave Miller, Executive Director of Family Service Agency, (815) 758-8616 or Anita Zurbrugg, Program Director, DeKalb County Community Foundation, (815) 748-5383.

About DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership

The DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership (DCNP) is a membership-based network of nonprofit organizations and resource providers serving DeKalb County. Established in 2012, DCNP is directed by a steering committee representing the areas of art and culture, education, health and human services, advocacy, community development and civic engagement. DCNP’s mission is to strengthen the nonprofit sector through leadership, professional development and collaboration.

1 COMMENT

  1. The debate isn’t about whether to restore services it’s about how to pay for them. But the consequences have the most adverse impact on those who need the services. That’s why DeKalb is so fortunate to have people like Dan Kenney who puts his efforts and resources into his vision for a community working together.

    The issue of how to pay for services needs resolution. I think Gov. Rauner’s visit to NIU is a good time for him to meet those in need of the services provided. Unfortunately there is no local forum for Madigan or Cullerton to meet those concerned around the state.

    Because it is not just a debate between Rauner “and his rich friends” and Madigan/Cullerton “and their union buddies.” The residents and those doing business here are debating who and how to pay for services, too. There are stats out there showing Illinois losing a resident and $50,000 every 7 minutes. If true one might assume those with the means are leaving and those with the needs are staying.

    Lock the two sides in the room without their “buddies.” Restore the services. Restore the state. Then they can come out. And only then.

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