The State Budget Impasse: Its Impact on Erie House and How You Can Help
July 29, 2015 | Chicago, IL
Erie House staff and participants gathered at the Thompson Center during a statewide walkout and rally on July 1.
On July 1, the Illinois General Assembly entered the new fiscal year without a balanced budget. It has now been 30 days and the impact on our state has been heartbreaking, leaving thousands of families without access to vital resources and forcing human service organizations across the state to take drastic measures.
At Erie House, we are losing $250,000 each month as a result of the budget impasse. In response, we have had no choice but to begin reducing programs and services and laying off valued staff members. While this is devastating for us as an organization, it is our participants who are truly suffering. The political back-and-forth in Springfield is leaving a long list of casualties, and that is simply not acceptable.
And yet in spite of this adversity, Erie House staff and participants have been at the forefront of the movement to ensure that the voices of the people most affected are heard, courageously advocating for a balanced budget that doesn’t forsake hardworking families but rather invests in our communities.
We joined a July 1 Walkout and Rally at the Thompson Center with fellow human service providers, spoke to Mark Brown for a Sun-Times column advocating for childcare funding and were highlighted in stories by ABC7 Chicago and WGN News. We hosted a Latino Policy Forum press conference to shine a light on the effects of the budget impasse on the Latino community. And, Erie House executive director Celena Roldán-Moreno penned an op-ed articulating the need for human services in the state of Illinois.
And we’re not finished! Now we’re calling on you to help us amplify this voice for justice on behalf of the courageous children, adults and families we’re privileged to walk alongside. Here’s how you can help:
1. Contact Gov. Rauner and your legislators in the General Assembly today and tell them this:
Hi, my name is ________________________ and I’m calling because vital human service programs are being cut and employees are being laid off due to the budget impasse. These programs make sure communities are safe, keep folks working and are good for our state economy. I urge you to choose revenue—not cuts—to pass a balanced budget that invests in a more prosperous state of Illinois.
Click here to find your representatives’ contact information. It only takes a minute, but legislators do listen to the collective voices of their constituents.
2. Help us extend our message to an even greater audience.
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining why the budget impasse is bad for the state of Illinois and the communities in which we live. Share news articles and analysis showing how the budget impasse is impacting working families on Facebook and Twitter. Remind your friends that organizations like Erie House help build stronger communities through programs that empower people, and that this is an investment worth making for the state of Illinois.
3. Donate now to support Erie Neighborhood House programs and services.
Your tax-deductible gift can make a huge difference as we bear the burden of the state budget impasse. These are tough times for everyone, but we want to continue empowering as many participants as possible with the tools and resources they need to thrive.
We continue to remain hopeful that lawmakers will realize that this is a priorities crisis, not a budget crisis, and that the people of Illinois need a balanced budget that relies on revenue, not cuts to human services. To that end, we will keep advocating for the needs of hardworking individuals and families in our communities. Will you join us?