Erie House Expresses Dismay over Proposed State Budget Cuts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2015 | Chicago, IL
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner outlined his proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year on Wednesday in Springfield and, as speculated, it contains broad cuts that will leave many nonprofit organizations and human service agencies reeling.
“Our elected officials need to consider the widespread implications of such cuts, especially those that affect working families and children in Illinois,” says Celena Roldán-Moreno, executive director at Erie Neighborhood House. Her nonprofit organization serves 4,500 participants from low-income, primarily Latino families each year in Chicago’s West Town, Humboldt Park and Little Village communities.
Among the many cuts outlined, of particular concern for Roldán-Moreno is the governor’s plan to eliminate the entire Immigrant Services Line Item (ISLI) from the state’s 2016 budget.
“Immigrants contribute to the rich, diverse fabric of our community,” she explains. “The ISLI was a relatively small portion of the 2015 budget—$6.67 million, or one tenth of one percent—but research suggests that the programs and services it funds can generate $160 million in revenue for the state over the next five years.”
“Our work at Erie House over the past century and a half has taught us that when we invest in the lives of immigrant children and families, we are really investing in stronger, healthier communities,” says Roldán-Moreno. “We believe these children and families are worth investing in.”
As the executive director of an agency that serves approximately 400 children ages 2 through 4 each year, Roldán-Moreno says she supports Gov. Rauner’s plans to increase spending on childcare and education. He also vowed to address the current $300 million shortfall for the state’s imperiled Childcare Assistance Program, stating that a deal is “very close.”
“We applaud the governor’s affirmation of the critical role childcare and education play in the wellbeing of communities across the state,” says Roldán-Moreno. “Our working families depend on the quality, affordable early childhood education and afterschool programming we provide.”
“Parents need to be able to go to work with the peace of mind that their children are cared for in a safe, nurturing environment that equips them with skills for success in school and in life,” explains Roldán-Moreno, who is currently in Springfield to work with other nonprofit leaders to advocate for the various human services Erie House provides. “We must ensure that we can continue to provide this vital service.”