Packed Senate hearing on Rauner budget cuts to human services

At a packed hearing Monday, vulnerable Illinois residents talked about the dire setbacks they would face under Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to slash human services by $423.8 million next year.

Photo by Shruti Sharma
Photo by Shruti Sharma

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) staff and 11 community leaders from Aurora and Waukegan attended the Chicago hearing, called by the Senate Appropriations Committee and chaired by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago). 

CCH delivered 50 written testimonies against the FY16 budget cuts proposed by the governor. The testimony was sent by leaders from CCH’s Statewide Network and by homeless youth providers on our Youth Committee.

Extensive media coverage highlighted the personal stories of people who would be impacted, including a homeless young mother served by Unity Parenting and Counseling, a Youth Committee member. Community turnout was organized by members of the Responsible Budget Coalition, including CCH and Voices for Illinois Children.

At the start of the hearing, senators questioned Greg Bassi, acting secretary for the Illinois Department of Human Services. As Progress Illinois later reported, Bassi said, “This is a difficult time and a difficult budget. As a result, difficult decisions must be made.”

Other state senators participating in the hearing were Sen. Donnie Trotter (D-Chicago), Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Matteson), Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), Sen. Jason A. Barickman (R-Bloomington), and Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-West Dundee).