Survey: budget impasse starving nonprofit sector
A new survey conducted by United Way of Illinois, UWI, shows Illinois’ year-long budget impasse continues to starve the nonprofit sector and cause harm to vulnerable citizens across the state.
Results of the survey were announced June 22. As of that date, the State of Illinois still did not have a budget.
UWI is the statewide association of 52 local United Ways and the largest nongovernmental funder of health and human services in the state.
In the fourth UWI survey, more than half of safety net and mental health providers responded that they have been unable to meet the needs of clients for the past year. They also indicated that the disruption in services will have long-term effects on the people they serve as extended waiting lists, the elimination of programs and triaging of clients mean more people are moving into crisis situations.
The mentally ill who are not getting psychiatric services go to emergency rooms or jails and some of the young people who aren’t in out-of-school time and job training programs become involved in the criminal justice system.
As of June: 54 percent of survey respondents anticipate they will have to cease serving clients in six months if the impasse continues. Almost two-thirds of survey respondents reported making program and/or operational cuts, up from 48 percent in January.
Of those agencies, 91 percent have cut the number of clients they serve, leaving nearly 1 million clients in Illinois without critical support, most significantly in the areas of mental health, substance abuse services and childhood education.
More than 50 percent of safety net and mental health providers indicated they could not meet the needs of their clients for the past year due to the impasse. Organizations have been unable to come close to filling the gap left by the state through additional fundraising efforts and have been forced to take extreme measures in order to continue serving clients.
Agencies reported cutting back or eliminating vital programs, draining cash reserves and credit lines, laying off staff and considering the possibility of shutting their doors entirely. For the full results, visit www.uw-mc.org/4thbudgetsurvey.