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Senate approves stopgap funding for social services (AUDIO)

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Critical dollars may soon keep youth employment and after-school programs open for at-risk youth, hot meals at the doorsteps of seniors and timely breast and cervical cancer screenings available for women and men.
Senate Bill 2038 would address the underfunding for senior services, family services, human services, public health and health care, provide money to human service providers who’ve been crippled by the budget stalemate. The measure appropriates nearly $715 million, or about 46%, of what is owed to those providers.

soundcloud pic“While this is still not a complete budget, it is the latest bipartisan step in the direction of full funding for essential state services, and I am encouraged by the conversations that have taken place across the aisle and between the House and Senate to make this happen,” said State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th), who presented the legislation in the Senate. “My priority remains keeping services available for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents while continuing to work on balanced and responsible budgets for the current year and the coming year.”

Senate Bill 2038 releases $715 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund and a number of smaller funds in order to pay for community mental health care, homelessness assistance, sexual assault victims’ services, services for people with disabilities, meals for low-income seniors, addiction treatment, breast and cervical cancer screenings and more.

“This gets needed funding to programs that care for our elderly, disabled and others victimized by Governor Rauner’s budget vetoes," Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton said. "Senate Democrats have time and again tried to give the governor the ability to fund these vital services. Hopefully, he will sign this bipartisan plan. Make no mistake, more needs to be done. This is, at best, a step in the right direction. It is by no means a victory lap for anyone. I hope the governor will do the right thing and sign this legislation as soon as it hits his desk.”

hunter 051216"Keeping our social safety net intact will help residents in needs find the services that keep them healthy, safe and for many youth, off of the streets," said Hunter, a member of the Senate Human Services and Public Health committees. "These critical dollars will help prevent our youth from entering the criminal justice system by creating educational and occupational opportunities for them."
"Today, we put the people first," said Trotter, Senate Appropriations II Committee chair. "It would cost the state more, in the long run, not to support the backbone of our state: our social and human services. Hardworking people who fall ill, or have the misfortune of growing old in our state should not be penalized because of the budget impasse. Senate Bill 2038 will place nearly $715 million into our system to keep our state afloat."
Under the proposal, the following services will receive funding:
•         Youth employment and after school programs
•         Mental health services
•         Homeless assistance and prevention programs and services
•         Sexual assault programs
•         Addiction services
•         AIDS/HIV services
•         Children's health programs
•         Home-delivered meals for seniors
•         Community Care Program

“It is urgent that the legislature and Gov. Rauner act to get money to the state’s network of human service providers who have been harmed – some irreparably – by the state’s prolonged budget stalemate," said Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Human Services Committee. “This is another step toward making things right – a small down payment on our commitment to the human service partners who do vital work for vulnerable residents on behalf of the state. For many of them, the services these providers offer literally mean the difference between life and death. Our work is not done. This effort represents a fraction of the millions of dollars that Illinois owes its human service providers. This is not a final resolution to a very serious problem, but it is progress.”

lightford 051116“This is a step in the right direction, but no one should be doing a victory lap," said Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood). "These programs are important to our communities and they’ve been desperately missed throughout this impasse. Some of these providers have suffered irreparable damage and it’s time we commit funding to them as they have committed themselves to our communities.”

Senate Bill 2038 would help human service providers from having to shut their doors. Dollar amounts for key components are:

  • Nearly $250 million to the Department of Human Services for homeless assistance and prevention programs and services, sexual assault programs, autism programs, mental health services, addiction services and after school programs.

  • More than $240 million to the Department on Aging for the Community Care Program, elder abuse and neglect and home delivered meals.

  • More than $20 million for breast and cervical cancer screenings, AIDS/HIV services, prostate cancer research, children's health programs and SIDS services.

koehler 051216"Authorizing dollars to be passed from the state to local level so they can provide services is particularly important," Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. "This is the first step in the right direction to not only helping seniors, urban and rural families in central Illinois but in solving the budget impasse."

“It is good that we took a step today to fund organizations that are so critical to so many Illinoisans, but this won’t undo the damage that months of neglecting our responsibilities has caused,” State Senator Linda Holmes, D-Aurora said. “The governor has said he shares the frustration of these organizations. If that’s true, he should stop vetoing their funding. I urge him to swiftly sign this into law and to work with us on a full budget that will prevent terrible situations like this going forward.”

"This stopgap measure is a step in the right direction and will get needed aid to programs helping our seniors, the disabled and the homeless and addicted," Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said. "But it doesn’t include all of the state dollars our human service agencies were anticipating and should receive. More has got to be done, and I will continue pushing for a complete human services budget."

"I am glad the legislature passed legislation that will fund youth employment programs, mental health services, immigrant services and other initiatives helping the homeless and disabled," said Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago). "The dollars provided should help keep our state’s human services infrastructure intact. But this plan is only a stopgap measure. We need a full human services budget in place that provides certainty to social service agencies and clients who are constantly worried about the services they need being cut."

“Tens of thousands of Will County residents who faced the loss of essential services will benefit from today’s action,” Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) said. “Just as with recent funding for higher education, Democrats and Republicans came together. But just as with the higher education measure, this human services measure provides less than half of what the General Assembly one year ago authorized the governor to devote to helping people. We must keep working.”

“This appropriation included funds for programs for our seniors, families who care for people with autism, services for immigrants and programs that help survivors of sexual assault,” Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “Human lives are at stake in many cases, and they can’t wait any longer. I urge the governor to swiftly sign this appropriation.”

collins 051216“While the fight for full funding is not yet over, today’s action is an encouraging sign and a lifeline extended to a wide variety of vital services for our at-risk youth, our food-insecure seniors and other vulnerable residents,” Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) said. “If the governor signs this measure into law, it will finally provide relief to organizations that have been working without pay to serve the ‘least of these,’ even as they themselves have been held hostage.”

“Especially as Chicago sees alarming levels of violence this year, it is essential that the governor lend his signature to releasing these resources to keep our young people off the streets and show them a different path,” Collins said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to build on the progress we’ve made today and achieve sustainable budgets for this year and the next.”

“This was a bipartisan effort to provide temporary relief for some of our most vulnerable populations, including seniors and the disabled, said Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton). "I believe this was another positive step toward reaching a compromise. But we cannot continue to piece together a budget. We need a full budget that includes funding for our local social providers and higher education institutions, which are instrumental to our local economy. This funding is desperately needed by human service agencies, which is why I hope the governor moves quickly to sign the bill.”

“This is another step toward a bipartisan budget solution," said Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines). "It is not perfect, but it does provide much-needed relief to the children and families who rely on social services to care for their loved ones. I look forward to continuing to work across the aisle to find solutions for the problems facing Illinois families.”

Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) supported the measure that would give funds to criminal justice programs like Redeploy and YouthBuild.
“Important programs across the state have suffered far too long due to the budget impasse," said Van Pelt. "Our at-risk youth need these programs to help them get their lives back on track. Although this stopgap measure is a step in the right direction, we must continue to find ways to fund these vital programs to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens get the help they need.”

“Our social service infrastructure was being decimated by this impasse,” Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “This money will allow many social service agencies to stay afloat while we continue to negotiate a full human services budget.”

“This vote is crucial for the hundreds of nonprofit organizations that are struggling to maintain services and keep their doors open," Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) said. "Programs serving individuals with autism, the homeless and sexual assault survivors are vital to thousands of Illinoisans who rely on their care and support. I urge the governor to sign this bill immediately and provide relief to our struggling providers.”