Survey Results: The State Budget Impasse Is Causing Homelessness in Illinois
A survey of state-funded homeless service providers found that the state budget impasse has forced, or will soon force, almost all of these nonprofit agencies—90%—to deny assistance to people at-risk of or experiencing homelessness.
Agencies are having to deny assistance by taking one or more of the following actions: limiting intake of new clients; reducing or eliminating services for current clients; staff layoffs, implementing furlough days or reduced work hours for staff; eliminating programs; and/or closing sites. Detailed survey results on the impact of the budget impasse are in the following table:
The state budget impasse has resulted in homeless service providers not receiving any state funding since July 1, 2015 for several key programs, including Emergency and Transitional Housing, Homelessness Prevention, Homeless Youth and Supportive Housing Services.
"One of our adolescent substance abuse treatment programs has closed, impacting 90 youth. If the budget impasse is not resolved in September, we will have to eliminate our host home and shelter services for runaway and homeless youth who are seeking a safe and better future away from violence in their homes and on the streets,” said Rick Velasquez, Executive Director of Youth Outreach Services in Chicago.
The majority of providers (59%) are also experiencing an increased demand for services because of the unavailability of other services once provided by other agencies. In addition, the vast majority of providers (85%) are concerned about how the absence of state funds could impact their ability to provide matching funding for federal dollars.
“We provide services to over 800 people a year, including a 24-hour domestic violence shelter, emergency shelter and transitional housing. On average, we have 60 women and children in shelter at any time. Payroll alone is over $40,000 every two weeks. We had cash reserves but they are gone. We have the cash on hand to make one more payroll in September. And then we don't know what we'll do. If we lay off staff, then we put our federal funding at risk,” said Isak Griffiths, Executive Director for Courage Connection, which serves Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding area.
The survey was conducted between August 14, 2015 and September 2, 2015. The advocacy organizations that developed the survey were the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, CSH, Housing Action Illinois and Supportive Housing Providers Association. 101 homeless service providers responded—agencies large and small, from urban, suburban and rural communities.
“We need a responsible budget now. Elected officials, Governor Rauner and others, must stop using children and families as bargaining chips to address non-budget demands,” said Bob Palmer, Policy Director for Housing Action Illinois. “We call on Governor Rauner and members of the General Assembly to focus all their energy on resolving the impasse and agree to a budget with adequate revenue to fund services as passed by the General Assembly in May.”