Everywhere I go in Illinois, I hear about how social service agencies are struggling to recover from the 736-day budget stalemate. The impasse between lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner brought state government to a halt and devastated many of the organizations that work on behalf of the state to offer a hand up to Illinois’ most vulnerable senior citizens, children, and families.
The effects of the impasse reverberate today. Some social service agencies, facing lapsed state payments, reluctantly closed their doors, leaving gaps in vital services throughout Illinois, including domestic violence shelters, drug treatment programs, meals for senior citizens, after-school programs for youth, and health screenings for adults. Others drastically cut programs and staff to make ends meet. It likely will take them years to recover.
In this issue of Fiscal Focus, we will introduce you to some of these service providers, who talked candidly about what went wrong and what state government can do better to support the mission of social service organizations as Illinois slowly recovers from the impasse (“Mending Illinois’ social safety net”).
Also in this issue, you’ll read about efforts to bring attention to homelessness during Covenant House Illinois’ Sleep Out: Women Unite, as well as my visit to Arden Shore Child and Family Services in Waukegan.
We’ll update you on the spring legislative session and two of my successful legislative initiatives, which will add transparency to the state’s managed care program and establish a program to encourage more Illinoisans to use affordable, traditional banking services.
I hope you find Fiscal Focus useful and informative. Your comments about this and other publications from this office are always welcome. You can contact us at 800–877–8078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading.
Susana A. Mendoza
Illinois State Comptroller