Homeless families & advocates head to Springfield

More than 100 homeless parents, children and single adults, college students and shelter providers rallied in Springfield today to press legislators to reconsider emergency shelter funding slashed from this year’s state budget.

The General Assembly enacted a state budget that slashed funding to homeless shelters and transitional housing by 52%, from $9.1 million to $4.4 million. Before the $4.7 million cutback, shelters across Illinois had to turn away people more than 45,000 times last year – it’s estimated the cutbacks mean 6,700 more people will be turned away this year.  

In Chicago, the trickle-down effect of the state cutback triggered the city to layoff its overnight shift of outreach workers, who help bring people to overnight shelters with available beds. Chicago also cut almost $600,000 in grants directed to shelters for operational costs.

CCH organizers mobilized the Springfield trip, busing families from T.A.B. South I on the South Side and Hesed House in Aurora, and women living at Deborah’s Place. Also joining the advocacy trip are shelter staffers and students from Elmhurst College and DePaul University who work with the CCH Speakers Bureau.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless also called a Monday press conference in downtown Chicago. Inner Voice told reporters that it cut back on services at its family and adult shelters. West Suburban PADS delayed opening seasonal shelters in the Oak Park area until October, because state grants account for 22% of its shelter revenue.

“At the same time that these programs have been cut and more people are sleeping on the streets, the state is subsidizing horse breeders to the tune of $4.1 million. We could restore these vital services with that amount of money,” said CCH Executive Director Ed Shurna.

– Anne Bowhay, Media

CBS Chicago: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/10/24/shelter-cuts-will-put-more-homele…

Chicago Sun-Times: Poverty seeping into suburbs (Hesed House)  http://www.suntimes.com/8305452-417/lack-of-jobs-leaves-more-suburban-mi…