As of today, Governor Rauner and the state legislature have not been able to agree upon a budget for the next fiscal year which begins July 1st.
Inspiration Corporation’s Housing Services Program receives funding from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to provide supportive services to 98 households in supportive housing. Our current grant, which ends June 30th, totals $316,000 and falls under supportive housing for homeless services in the State budget. The Governor’s February budget proposal zeroed out funding for supportive housing for homeless services, and the budget approved by the legislature includes funding for supportive housing for homeless services at 88.8% of this current year’s funding level.
What does this mean for Inspiration Corporation and the people we serve?
If the State budget is not passed by or on June 30th, we will have to lay off some of our staff on our Housing Services team. We will also have to significantly reduce direct support to housing participants, specifically transportation assistance in the form of CTA bus passes.
For participants in our Housing Services program, the State budget situation does not change anyone’s housing subsidy. Participants will continue to receive housing subsidies, meaning they will not lose their housing.
But the State budget situation does impact the provision of the much-needed supportive services to participants in supportive housing. These supportive services help participants to remain stably housed. If we need to implement staff layoffs, Inspiration Corporation will continue to provide supportive services at both Inspiration Cafe and The Living Room Cafe. However, we will have fewer Housing Services staff working with larger caseloads and will not be able to provide the same level of contact participants were previously receiving.
This loss of funding will impact IC’s ability to provide housing services to 98 households comprised of 105 adults and 83 children. These households receive the following supportive services from Inspiration Corporation:
- 98 households would lose a linkage to community support. Inspiration Corporation’s staff currently works with tenants to access all available resources. IC staff assists with benefits applications and benefits maintenance.
- 98 households would lose assistance with navigating health care, mental health care, and substance abuse services. When individuals fall out of regular preventative care, health care costs are often increased due to preventable emergencies.
- 98 households would no longer receive assistance with financial literacy and budgeting. These services are necessary to maintain safe and affordable housing. Many of our tenants have never before had their own lease or their own apartment. Inspiration Corporation’s staff help empower our tenants by learning necessary tenancy skills.
- 98 households would no longer receive necessary transportation assistance to get to medical appointments, job interviews, and training opportunities.
- 31 households (81 children) led by single adults with disabilities would not receive assistance to make sure their children were enrolled in school and had necessary school supplies and uniforms. Inspiration Corporation’s staff currently assists tenants with accessing all available resources and advocate for children to stay in their school of origin even when the head of household has experienced homelessness.
- 31 single parent households would not receive assistance in obtaining appropriate child care services.
- 83 children would risk losing safe and affordable housing if they did not have a dedicated staff member available to help the head of household navigate the often complex world of housing assistance.
Housing Services staff have begun calling participants on their caseloads to let them know how services will be impacted if the State budget is not passed by June 30th and will follow up their calls with a letter. Staff is also holding Question & Answer meetings for participants at Inspiration Cafe and The Living Room Cafe to provide information and address concerns.
Inspiration Corporation has been actively involved with advocating for a fair budget. We have worked with other agencies and the Supportive Housing Provider’s Association to advocate that homeless services and supportive housing services not be cut from the State budget.
We urge you to call your state senator, state representative, and Governor Rauner and ask them to continue funding for vital human services. Ask them to not only agree on a budget, but to agree on a budget that protects our most vulnerable neighbors and fellow citizens.