Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Typically I try to avoid politics in my blog. I want this to be a place that is fun and informative. However, in the crisis which Illinois is currently in, I can not stand by and not say my say...

If the budget proceeds, the way it stands now, 20-50% of human services will be cut. This is unacceptable, and unfair. The population that I work with and I have served for the past 15 years is the developmentally disabled children and adults of Illinois. These individuals are ENTITLED to these services. How dare the state attempt to balance a mess they got us into at the cost of those who are not responsible.

Over the past 20 years their has been a collective effort to get individuals with disabilities out of overcrowded warehouses (i.e. the state operated facilities). Most of the current state op's are in decertification, have multiple allegations of abuse and neglect, are understaffed, and fall short of the minimal expectations set forth by the Illinois Dept. Of Public Health. The effort has been successful in getting most individuals into smaller community integrated facilities. These individuals are thriving in these smaller settings. They have become part of the communities, they vote, they work (if able), they attend day training, they participate in community events, and more. Not to mention the jobs and the money these small homes bring into communities.

Currently the cuts to social and human services in the Illinois budget will cause these small group homes to go under. They can not function with a 20-50 % cut. Most of these homes are already borrowing payroll because the state is 6-8 months behind in their reimbursements of these homes. Thus, facilities are forced to borrow the money from banks, resulting in outrageous interest charges. How can they further bear a 50% cut. Anything over a 5-8% cut will result in these facilities closing down. There are hundreds of these facilities in Illinois.

The employees will lose their jobs. The money funneled into small communities from these homes will be lost (gas purchased at the local gas station, groceries from the local the store, 16 indiviudals getting hair cuts at the local salon, 16 people eating lunch every Saturday at the local McDonalds, etc. etc.) This is a detrimental chain effect.

When these homes close, where will these people go? Onto the streets? Or back to these state operated facilities (that unions are already attempting to keep open!). I have been informed that many of the legislatures were willing to vote for a tax increase to keep this budget cut from happening, however, the pork tied to the tax increase is what is holding this up. Some representatives have tied a new highway to the tax increase, or a new museum, etc. Are you kidding? We are talking about people's lives here. How dare they attach this pork to the value of a human life!

I urge everyone, whether you are a resident of Illinois or not, to drop an email to the Illinois Government. Tell them that their tactics are absurd! Tell them that you value all human life, and you will not visit a State that engages in this manipulation. Please, speak for those who can not advocate for themselves. Please do it today!

For more information see

Thank you!

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