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Putting human faces on line items

Thursday, Dec 17, 2015

* Illinois Issues

The state budget impasse could put more young people out on the streets this winter.

Corey Stewart became homeless when he was 18, after his mother died and he found himself struggling to pay rent for the family’s apartment on Chicago’s South Side. “I worked for a temp agency,” he says. “I had my steel-toe boots and I was working, but I just couldn’t swing it — that was too much money. I wasn’t going to school because too much was going on.” And his father, who had never been in his life, was nowhere to be found.

Like many Illinois teens who find themselves without a place to sleep, Stewart began staying at other people’s homes. “I was … trying to pay rent on other people’s cribs, and that didn’t work out,” he says. Other times, he slept on the streets.

“If I weren’t mentally stable, … I probably would have lost it,” he recalls. “I probably would be doing some time in jail or something like that. … It’s harsh out there. You’ve got to worry about bullets. The police. You know what I’m saying? The weather. There’s a lot of stuff you’ve got to worry about. … It ain’t no walk in the park.”

The fallout from the state’s current budget crisis could leave more young people like Stewart on the streets this winter.

Stewart, who is now 22, was staying recently at Ujima Village, a 24-bed shelter in Chicago’s Grand Crossing area for homeless people who are 18 to 24 years old. It’s where he went for a bed to sleep; dinner and breakfast; a place to shower; and advice on getting his life back on track. “The staff here, they cool,” he says. “I get along with them and … the program at Ujima is very informational. They give you information on a lot of things, and I take heed to it.”

But Unity Parenting & Counseling Inc., the nonprofit group that runs Ujima Village, hasn’t been getting state funding for the past half-year, because of the standoff between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic leaders of the Illinois General Assembly. Like other nonprofits around the state that help homeless youths, Unity is uncertain how long it can continue providing the same level of services.

A. Anne Holcomb, supportive services supervisor for Unity Parenting & Counseling Inc., was once homeless herself.

“We almost had to close,” says A. Anne Holcomb, supportive services supervisor for Unity. “We actually had informed staff in August that we had no more funding as of September 1. … We tried to find other places for the youth to go in that event. But the reality is most of the emergency shelters are state-funded. And the transitional housing programs are too. So there wasn’t really any other place that was secure. We couldn’t find an option. … We only have 374 youth beds in the city.”

Go read the whole thing.

* When people have talked about the all too real long-term, permanent damage that’s being caused by this “short-term pain for long-term gain” impasse, these kids are just some of the folks who are in real danger.

As one commenter said this week, social service providers may go under and others may eventually take their place, but what about the permanent damage caused to those who can’t be served in the interim?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - MickJ - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:03 pm:

    I guess it helps to put a human face on the cuts when opposing them. And, I understand the General Assembly and government in general is often anecdote driven not data driven.

    But, c’mon man, did people not see this hardship coming without the actual faces?

  2. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:05 pm:

    Feels a lot like this Governor is approaching social services - provided largely by nonprofits - like a business: letting some fail, others rise, etc. But human lives aren’t widgets, and the private sector doesn’t have even a fraction of the $$ needed to keep even the best and strongest nonprofits afloat.

    There are efficiencies to be found to be sure (a la Budgeting for Results), but this game of chicken risks undoing so much of the progress that has been made in the last several years.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:08 pm:

    Send Corey an emergency winter supply of “hang in, theres.”

    Or he could change his name to Conagra Amazon and get a state handout, toot-sweet.

    Dilettante ideologues extract a heavy price from those who can least afford it.

  4. - Team America - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:12 pm:

    “And his father, who had never been in his life, was nowhere to be found.” With the disintegration of the family, the State of course has to step in. And more services are needed to serve more people, and so on. But heck, I know, Rauner’s fault.

  5. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:13 pm:

    Have Rauner buy a bunch of Oswego Willy’s “Fire Madigan” sleeping bags and hand them out for those homeless who want to sleep in the JRTC atrium during the night.

  6. - Anon221 - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    From Illinois Issues article: ““No one on either side of the aisle wants to see people who are homeless … not having their services provided,” says state Rep. Patti Bellock, a Hinsdale Republican who’s the House GOP’s chief budget negotiator and the Human Services Appropriations Committee’s minority spokeswoman. “I’m very concerned about it.” But she adds, “We have to look at the entire budget. The people of the state of Illinois are tired of the status quo.”

    Representative, I’m very sure that those who are being pushed away from the social services safety net that we in Illinois worked so hard to create, are a bit tired of the “status quo” of those gathering the “status” all to themselves!

  7. - Anon221 - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:16 pm:

    Dear Santa,

    Please send Bruce Rauner a pair of shoes to “walk in”.


    Illinois Social Services Programs

  8. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:17 pm:

    ==hasn’t been getting state funding for the past half-year==

    What happened when Illinois bill backlog hit $9.9 bill in 2010?

    Was there anything done to help service providers like this that we can do again?

  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:19 pm:

    The sleeping bags are quite stylish, yet functional, and the “Fire Madigan, 2.0″ is embroidered, which is sheek and stuffed with imitation Owl feathers.

    - Team America -, hmm, the “father” quote, are you sure you aren’t Jeanne Ives?

  10. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    –But heck, I know, Rauner’s fault.==

    TA, why do you not take the governor at his word when he says the budget will have to wait until he gets satisfaction on his Turnaround Agenda?

    Do you believe he’s lying? Do you believe he’s not serious, when he says, over and over, “short-term pain for long-term gains?”

    This is part of the pain. This is what he’s talking about when he speaks of leverage.

    Can you not read or hear?

    Or does that strategy trouble you so much that you refuse to believe it exists, despite all evidence, including the governor’s explanation of it?

    This is how it’s supposed to be. This is the plan.

    If you don’t like it, stop defending it. But stop pretending it doesn’t exist.

  11. - Team America - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    Willy, I just quote ‘em, I don’t write ‘em. I’d love a sleeping bag if they are still available.

  12. - Belle - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    If any of are looking to donate money, it sounds like some of these places could use it.

  13. - Team America - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:24 pm:

    Wordslinger, I understand the strategy. I’m not ignoring it, and admittedly it’s painful on many levels to many people. Blame Rauner if you don’t agree with his strategy, but don’t accuse him of creating the underlying problem. Too many people/commenters conflate the two issues, which is my beef.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    - Team America -

    They’re only $8.99

    With shipping, $217.41

    Head to the website, you get $5 off entering the code “pain” at checkout.

  15. - Team America - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:30 pm:

    Willy - how much to get Rich Goldberg to sign one?

  16. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:32 pm:

    Team America I think we are in agreement, to summarize:

    It is not Rauner’s fault that people are poor

    It is Rauner’s fault that poor people are not getting services.

  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:34 pm:

    –Blame Rauner if you don’t agree with his strategy, but don’t accuse him of creating the underlying problem. Too many people/commenters conflate the two issues, which is my beef.–

    Too many people say things like “structural reforms” and “underlying problem” without saying what they’re talking about, specifically.

    Is the “underlying problem” you’re referring to here the circumstances that led to this person’s homelessness? Obviously, that wouldn’t be Rauner’s “fault” (very important to establish “fault” in some circles).

    But Rauner is, for political “leverage,” holding hostage funds that provide for the homeless, a long-standing state core responsibility.

    Feel free to argue no state funds for the homeless, if you choose.

    But don’t deny that Rauner is willfully inflicting more problems on the homeless for a political agenda.

    If you can choke that down, I’m sure the governor is doing a swell job in your mind.

    Merry Christmas.

  18. - Code - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:36 pm:

    ==As one commenter said this week, social service providers may go under and others may eventually take their place…==

    “eventually” is right. It could take years, with funding restored, for these or similar services to be provided again. As others have said many times, you can’t switch on and off social service infrastructure, like these homeless shelters, when you decide the time is right. This is long-term pain, short-term devastation.

  19. - Federalist - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:36 pm:

    Really tough on individuals like this young person.

    And part of a larger story of a more systemic, and not just isolated, disintegration of the family in this country. Particularly true in minority communities but not exclusively.

    And yet no attempt by our politicians or political elites to take on even some of the causes of this issue- instead it is continually ignored as the situation has vastly worsened in the last 50 years.

  20. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    “This is how it’s supposed to be. This is the plan.”

    Exactly so.

    – MrJM

  21. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    Anne Holcomb is an angel.

    Can anyone weigh in on how this time compares to the $9.9 Bill backlog in 2010 or the $8.5 Bill backlog in 2011? How did we get through that and what sort of damage did it leave the state?

  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    I can’t even get a signed snarky letter from Goldberg, now yiu want me to sign sleeping bags for me?

    To the Post,

    It’s willful, as - Wordslinger - pointed out, part of the plan, and believing that fact should be glossed over is again Rauner avoiding the arrows he claimed he was willing to take.

    That’s telling. That’s real.

  23. - walker - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    Okay TA: now you’re in the real world. The subject of this thread is the “short yet pain,” which is on Rauner because he chose it as a negotiating tactic.

    You might well argue that the “long term gains” will be needed mostly because of shortcomings of Madigan and other Dems.

    The position of serious critics of Rauner are three: that his actual demanded changes have few quantifiable gains, that his goals are mostly political, and that his strategy is extreme and unnecessary — we could get a lot of the sorely-needed long-term gains by working together, and negotiating without hostages.

    To claim that last one is “defending the status quo” is unfair.

  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:46 pm:

    ===What happened when Illinois bill backlog hit $9.9 bill in 2010?===

    They raised taxes.

  25. - Daniel Plainview - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    - Dilettante ideologues -

    Don’t forget that the ideologue legitimized by those who jump on the “state business climate reform” bandwagon, even though Rauner hasn’t provided a single analysis of how his agenda would improve the economy.

  26. - Daniel Plainview - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    *has been legitimized

  27. - Anon221 - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    Team- Strategies have consequences. You can stick to the “Whys” all day long, but if you can’t explain the “Hows” then we get nowhere. Nowhere on the Budgets, nowhere on the Turns, and nowhere as a Community. People should not have to live with the thoughts that they are not worthy to live in this State because their “contributions” are not as great as judged by others.

  28. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    –Can anyone weigh in on how this time compares to the $9.9 Bill backlog in 2010 or the $8.5 Bill backlog in 2011? How did we get through that and what sort of damage did it leave the state?–

    I’m pretty sure the Great Recession wasn’t part of a political strategy. And social service providers were being paid.

    Geez, you Raunerbots, you’re quick to change the subject rather than take the heat for the intended consequences of “the plan.”

    ‘Leveraging” the budget doesn’t work unless someone gets hurt, savvy? That’s the strategy — the other guy will quit so you’ll stop hurting people.

    What did you think it was?

  29. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    Well said “walker.”

  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===we could get a lot of the sorely-needed long-term gains by working together, and negotiating without hostages.===

    To claim that last one is “defending the status quo” is unfair.===


    Well done.

  31. - late to the party - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    Rich -

    To continue, they raised taxes, paid down nearly half of the back bills, paid the pension payments in full and still had to make cuts to important programs. If TA is arguing that taxes should have been higher and not temporary, then I can see why we should not blame the new Governor.

    However, the tax rate expired (which Rauner agrees with), and combined with court rulings and consent decrees is causing back log to increase. Full payments to the pension system are being threatened per the comptroller. And these programs are not being funded, not only because there is no budget but because the Governer had slated many of them for elimination in his own budget.

    How is Rauner not responsible for not funding a program he wants to eliminate?

  32. - Team America - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    Walker - agree, mostly. How to judge who is unfairly holding “hostages” and who isn’t carrying their end of the responsibly to compromise - well, that’s where the rub is. It’s equally valid, in my opinion, to argue that Madigan is the one holding the hostages by not working harder to compromise with Rauner. As Obama said, elections have consequences.

    Bottom line, on this blog I may be in the minority, but I happen to assess far greater blame Madigan on who has been around for 40 years, compared to Rauner’s one. ‘Nuf ’sed.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    ===As Obama said, elections have consequences.===

    Keep in mind, the super-majorities the voters chose in the GA.

    ===…Madigan on who has been around for 40 years, compared to Rauner’s one. ‘Nuf ’sed.===

    With Edgar, Thompson, Ryan, President Pate Phillip…

    When you’re on my “Fire Madigan, 2.0″ website, volume purchases have deep discounts.

    To your point,

    ===Madigan is the one holding the hostages by not working harder to compromise with Rauner.===

    That is quite true, especially on “doing the doable” with both sides agreeing…

    … only a governor can veto, and they own their vetoes.

  34. - Team America - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    OW - Supermajority, meh. Hasn’t worked out so well for Madigan in the Rauner era so far.

    I may need a corporate account on the OW website. Please send the emergency application.

  35. - yinn - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:11 pm:

    ==With the disintegration of the family, the State of course has to step in.==

    There’s a slight stench of victim-blaming to this. The disintegration of the family tracks quite closely with the disintegration of the middle class and more people falling into poverty, and they are products of public policy decisions made by the same types of clueless ideologues as those who have determined we don’t really need a safety net.

  36. - Mama - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    The Ag. corporation got money from Rauner to help them move a few miles, but the poor - - well that is a whole different story. Sorry, no money for you.

  37. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:15 pm:

    1) divided co-equal government requires cooperation. That’s one point.

    2) Rauner not having a majority, in fact having a super-minority requires Rauner to realize he needs Dems, as much as Dems need him to get to 71, or even 60.

    You do know how governing works?


    The website is self-explanatory. You can figure it out. If you can’t, you can’t.

  38. - Muscular - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    …what about the permanent damage caused to those who can’t be served in the interim?

    Call Mike Madigan. It seems that Ann and Corey are Democratic voters.

  39. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    ===It seems that Ann and Corey are Democratic voters.===

    Why do you say that?

    Be specific.

  40. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:30 pm:

    ==It seems that Ann and Corey are Democratic voters.==

    And you come to that goofy conclusion how?

  41. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:32 pm:

    ==Call Mike Madigan.==

    Oh, and I know you like to play the good little victim and all but in addition to that call they place to Madigan they might want to call the Governor also since he has a bit of a role in this as well.

  42. - illini - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:34 pm:

    As has been stated by wise commenters on this site previously —-


    and -

    GOVERNORS OWN - first time its been said today, time for a shot!!!!

  43. - walker - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:35 pm:

    Team America: kudos to you for moving from drive by blame-tossing, and partisan jargon generalities, to engaging and making your argument.

  44. - Mama - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:38 pm:

    ==- walker - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:44 pm: ==
    Walker that was excellent.

  45. - RetiredStateEmployee - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:39 pm:

    The current status quo is worse that the previous status quo.

  46. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 2:56 pm:

    ==- Team America - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 1:12 pm:==

    Try reading for comprehension. The kid was working and trying to pay rent, but he couldn’t make the ends meet. Would you be saying this if the father died when the child was young? Heck, maybe he did! It doesn’t matter! What matters is protecting our most vulnerable citizens and giving them the opportunity to succeed.

  47. - Honeybear - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 3:16 pm:

    – social service providers may go under and others may eventually take their place–

    As I have said before, social services are not like businesses. Free market principles do not apply here. Once it’s down it most likely never be replaced. Who really wants to open a homeless shelter in East St. Louis for instance. Tutoring for the kids here? (since I think 4 out of the 5 top suspension districts were in the Metro East) No with insecure funding from the state and ZERO private interest where would the money come from? I mean really if you aren’t a social service agency with a Ball or Gala you’re going to be out for the count if not now, really soon. In my experience with poverty dynamics, which is pretty extensive, the wealthy do not put money where it is really needed. Money goes to agencies that have Balls and Galas and big overhead costs. They don’t to mom and pop agencies that struggle every month to stay open but do the majority of the social service work. I have to say it, even as a current member/financial supporter of several of these “Gala” agencies, I can tell you that the impact they make is huge but the front line, the real heavy lifting is being done by places that are going down because of the impasse. Two months ago we donated a bunch of stuff/kids clothes etc to a womans shelter near our church. Now I haven’t over there to investigate yet but their phone was disconnected when I tried to call this past weekend. I’m scared to death that they’ve gone down. They were down to the director and a part-timer when we made the last drop off. This is the damage that is being made.

  48. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Dec 17, 15 @ 3:53 pm:

    @Rich - gracias for replying.

    @Oswego Willy - hits it out of the park with his comment at 2:15. They need each other, and the sooner they both accept that the better for Illinois.

  49. - Just cant believe it. - Friday, Dec 18, 15 @ 6:56 am:

    Rauner and Durkin own this. Had this vision been known before the last election, neither would have been elected, despite Quinn’s incompetence.

    Rauner bought this election to have a stepping stone to the White House. Given this face, Rauner’s policies have done more so much harm to his voting block, his political future is done.

    Just look at the price Rev. Corry Brooks has paid for supporting Rauner….

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* A farewell, to one of my favorite White Sox fans

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