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“The safety net continues to crumble around us”

Friday, May 27, 2016

* The impasse has made a whole lot of people realize that their charitable donations are just a drop in the bucket of what those vital organizations need

As of May, the state owed Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago over $25 million. That money pays for state-contracted services the agency provides mostly to seniors. The agency floats the state $2 million each month.

Catholic Charities in the archdiocese is the largest social-service provider in Illinois, caring for 1 million people annually. While the agency raises about $25 million privately each year, a large portion of its annual $200 million budget comes from government contracts. […]

Every 30 seconds, someone in Cook or Lake counties contacts Catholic Charities for help at one of its 160 locations. If the agency were to cut 20 percent of its programs, 200,000 people would be affected — a population about the size of Aurora, Illinois. While Catholic Charities relies on a staff of 3,000, they also have 15,000 volunteers — many from local parishes — to administer services. […]

“As of this month, we have heard that more than 40 food pantries have closed. The safety net continues to crumble around us,” [Msgr. Michael Boland, president and CEO of Catholic Charities] said.

Catholic Charities often refers clients to their nearest food pantry or other providers for services they qualify for that the agency may not provide.

“We never give up and always try to find resources, but our clients are having to travel further distances to receive help,” he said. “All of our emergency assistance sites have seen an increase in people coming to them for help for basic services like food, rent and utilities as the agencies around them are closing.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Blue Bayou - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:18 pm:

    Gosh….you mean the government as the collective power of the people, actually does some good?

    Someone rush in and tell the governor.

  2. - Pawn - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:32 pm:

    And yet Catholic Charities is not interested in holding the administration accountable for unpaid contracts in any way other than rhetoric.

  3. - A guy - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    CC is the most efficient service provider in the state. It has been for a very long time. Many who work there for very, very modest pay, were former volunteers themselves. Many have reverted to volunteering during this crisis. Fundraisers have been asked to redouble their efforts for most food supplies and child care needs; diapers etc. It’s loaves and fishes everyday there.

  4. - A guy - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:35 pm:

    Pawn, that qualifies for the dopiest thing of the week. A lot of those very generous donors are the same class of folks who get a regular beating here.

  5. - Thoughts Matter - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:36 pm:

    As I said on another thread- those of you not willing to pay taxes to benefit anyone but yourselves- this is the result. This will hit home close to you eventually.

  6. - Dome Gnome - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:37 pm:

    Is this what “no social agenda” looks like, governor?

  7. - DGD - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    **As I said on another thread- those of you not willing to pay taxes to benefit anyone but yourselves- this is the result. This will hit home close to you eventually.**

    We ARE all paying taxes, they just aren’t being disbursed

  8. - JS Mill - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:51 pm:

    “A lot of those very generous donors are the same class of folks who get a regular beating here. ”

    My submission for worst comment of the week since that other word is banned here.

  9. - Thoughts Matter - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:53 pm:


    - there is a little matter of not having enough revenue?

  10. - Pawn - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:54 pm:

    a guy, I’m not bashing the CC donors. I’m Catholic myself. good for them. But in their efforts to illustrate the impact of the budget impasse, what are they actually doing? They could, you know, sue. Or push back on the unpaid contracts. stop work. Refuse to sign or take new contracts. They have a lot of leverage, potentially, but they are not trying to use it.

  11. - A guy - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    === JS Mill - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 2:51 pm:

    “A lot of those very generous donors are the same class of folks who get a regular beating here. ”

    My submission for worst comment of the week since that other word is banned here.===

    Maybe you should spend a little time investigating how this remarkable network works. They’re among the most generous and hard working people on the planet who put politics completely aside to complete a mission the state couldn’t and can’t do on it’s own. And as you can see, they’re continuing without being paid (like others) and even subsidizing the state to an extent to keep many vital services going. A lot of very wealthy donors are being tapped at 3x the rate usual.

    Now, remind me how that’s the worst comment of the week? I know yours are all suited for framing.

  12. - Nick - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    Given the public’s resistance to tax increases, how much of the budget is occupied with old debts/unfunded liabilities, and how little spending there is that everyone can agree is wasteful, it is probably impossible to avoid cuts to some worthy expenditures. If they need to cut $7 billion from the budget, I don’t see how these worthy programs can be spared cutting or even elimination of their state funding. The basics of continuity of government, education, security, parks, infrastructure, & Medicaid probably have to come first.

  13. - A guy - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 3:08 pm:

    Pawn, the mission is well beyond the politics of it for CC. It would be incorrect to conclude that Msgr. Boland and others, including very influential board members there, are not putting a lot of pressure on all of the elected officials in a more private way. Ask a few of them, they’ll tell you. It’s never been their style to leverage the mission for a political outcome. It’s just not how CC works.

    Might have gone too tough on you in the first post. Mea Culpa. This one hits close to home for me.

    As some of these services cease because there is just no way to keep them afloat, they will cease to exist forever. The state has legislated counter-productively to some aspects of the mission over the years and CC has never abandoned the services they provide the poor.

    Practically speaking there are some of these institutions that just may not be able to be reconstituted if they run aground.

  14. - BK Bro - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 3:11 pm:

    So long as Democrats refuse to budge on labor and other reforms and Republicans refuse to budge on revenue increases, this will continue to happen.

    Cynically, it’s educating/interesting to see just how much a lot of these social non-profits are reliant on State funding. I think a lot of people just thought it was all donation/fundraiser revenue that was keeping these non-profits afloat. In reality, a lot of these non-profits seem to be working like an outsourced service for the State of IL.

  15. - Cassandra - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    Um, some of us understand we have to pay taxes. We object to paying a disproportionate share of them in a country where the middle class is shrinking-not only salaries of its members but the entire middle class as a proportion of the total. And the upper income class is increasing. So effectively, their proportion of the tax burden is decreasing in a flat tax state like Illinois. There is no indication that this trend will reverse soon. That’s why Hillary Clinton and other national candidates don’t talk about raising federal taxes on the middle. Well, Sanders does, but he also talks about extending
    many benefits such as free public college and Medicare to all. On the part of both candidates
    there is a recognition that the country’s middle class is in serious economic trouble. Not so here in Illinois, I think.

  16. - Anon221 - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    BK Bro-

    Let’s turn that around. The State, in order to save money AND make sure there are safety nets throughout the State for those that need help up, has come to rely heavily on the social service providers- not entirely the other way around. Once the social services are gone from a community, where is the current State plan to come in and pick up the devastation? Rauner’s reply, I’m sure, would be, “Well, that’s a local issue. They can decide what to do or not to do.” And that, is NOT a plan. That is fragmentation and wanton destruction.

  17. - X-prof - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    Decoding Bruce: “no social agenda” means “the state should provide no social services.”

  18. - Bootleg Carhartt Designer - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    Ummm . . . A Guy
    A couple of weeks ago, our pastor asked everyone to give more to Catholic Charities at the following weeks second collection because of the $25 million that is currently owed. Last week, after Mass, I suggested to the priest that maybe they could ask all those with the Rauner bumper stickers on their cars in the lot to help make up the difference. He then proceeded to blame Madigan for the budget. I then advised him about Article 8, Section 2a of the Illinois constitution, and that the Gov’s own budget was several billion out of whack. He really didn’t like that and said that state employees had a VERY generous pension. I wonder what Msgr. Boland would think of that type of reasoning.

  19. - cdog - Friday, May 27, 16 @ 4:06 pm:

    Is this a glimpse of what the world might look like under a tea-party majority government?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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