By Jennifer Cushman, Policy Specialist
On Good Friday, April 3, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the immediate suspension of grants for 22 state funded services, including “Assistance for Homeless” grants of $300,000.
“Assistance for Homeless” is an income-tax check-off fund with an annual appropriations of $300,000. The amount of revenue generated annually is approximately half of that, so the Illinois Department of Human Services allows funds to accumulate until it is able to issue a request for proposals. The funds have been used in the past as grants that allow shelters and transitional housing service providers to make improvements to their facilities.
These funds are generated by Illinois citizens who have made donations to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Funds that have been earmarked for a specific charitable use by taxpayers have now been frozen.
It is unclear how this action is helpful to the state’s budget or how it serves the interests of Illinoisans – either those that donated or those who could benefit from the funds. This cut is on top of a 36% reduction in funding for homeless services since FY 2008, and $18 million in cuts Gov. Rauner has proposed to homeless youth, homeless prevention, and emergency and transitional housing that would end services for 12,500 Illinoisans in FY16.
Other immediate grant suspensions announced on Friday include services for teen after-school programs, autism, addiction prevention, epilepsy and immigrant integration.