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United Way survey finds 1 million people lost services

Thursday, Jun 23, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Bumped up for visibility since this story has mostly been ignored by the media except for a brief story this morning by the AP.]

* Press release…

A new survey conducted by United Way of Illinois (UWI), the statewide association of 52 local United Ways and the largest non-governmental funder of health and human services in the state, shows Illinois’ year-long budget impasse continues to starve the nonprofit sector and cause harm to vulnerable citizens across the state.

In the fourth United Way of Illinois survey, more than half of safety net and mental health providers responded that they have been unable to meet the needs of clients for the past year. Survey respondents also indicated that the disruption in services will have long-term effects on the people they serve as extended waiting lists, the elimination of programs and triaging of clients mean more people are moving into crisis situations. The mentally ill who are not getting psychiatric services go to emergency rooms or jails and some of the young people who aren’t in out-of-school time and job training programs become involved in the criminal justice system.

As of June 2016:

    • 54% of survey respondents anticipate they will have to cease serving clients in six months if the impasse continues
    • Almost two-thirds of survey respondents reported making program and/or operational cuts, up from 48% in January 2016
    • Of those agencies, 91% have cut the number of clients they serve, leaving nearly 1 million clients in Illinois without critical support, most significantly in the areas of mental health, substance abuse services and childhood education
    • More than 50% of safety net and mental health providers indicated they could not meet the needs of their clients for the past year due to the impasse

“We honestly wished we would have different news” said Kristi Long, United Way of Illinois Board Chair. “The survey results show accelerating damage since January—more program cuts, more clients left unserved, more debt. The mentally ill, disabled seniors and young children in need of educational opportunities—these people can’t wait for the next election.”

Organizations have been unable to come close to filling the gap left by the state through additional fundraising efforts and have been forced to take extreme measures in order to continue serving clients. Agencies reported cutting back or eliminating vital programs, draining cash reserves and credit lines, laying off staff and considering the possibility of shutting their doors entirely. In order to continue to serve clients:

    • 45% of respondents have been forced to lay off staff, up from 24% in January 2016
    • 59% of respondents have utilized their cash reserves
    • 33% of respondents have utilized lines of credit
    • Respondents have taken on a combined $38 million in debt
    • 36% of agencies anticipate they will have to close their doors in six months if the impasse continues

This is the fourth survey conducted by United Way of Illinois on the state budget stalemate. The survey was conducted June 1-June 8, 2016, and responses were received from 429 human services agencies that receive state funding. Responses were received from every county in Illinois. Survey respondents represented a range of service categories including youth development, early childhood education, mental health, emergency housing, senior services and employment training and varied in budget size from less than $500,000 to more than $15 million.

More numbers are here.


  1. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:12 pm:


  2. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    I think the exponential growth of cut services and programs is well-highlighted by this survey and fits with what Rich has been reporting on here.

  3. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:23 pm:

    I hope they are all registered to vote.

  4. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:23 pm:

    “We’re doing heroic things.”

    – MrJM

  5. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:26 pm:


    At this rate, they’ll have enough headlines to turn “Heroic Things” into a feature film instead of 1:35.

  6. - Linus - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:26 pm:

    This helps explain why “Bruce has no social agenda.” There will soon be no “social” left - therefore, no need for its “agenda.”

  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:27 pm:

    Dear United Way and the 1 million people served.

    @RonSandack: I’m frustrated 2, but taking steps towards reforming IL more important than short term budget stalemate. - Ron Sandack, 9/28/15

    Ron Sandack does NOT care about you.

    I guess Bruce Rauner doesn’t either

    Don’t say “both sides”

    Raunerites want you frustrated, but….

    @RonSandack: I’m frustrated 2, but taking steps towards reforming IL more important than short term budget stalemate. - Ron Sandack, 9/28/15

    … This is them, and Ron Sandack not caring about you.

  8. - Capitol View - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:31 pm:

    Is this still Illinois, or have we become Alabama?

  9. - AC - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:32 pm:

    The sacrifice of 7.8% of the population in Illinois to benefit the 0.1%, that’s not my definition of heroic.

  10. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:36 pm:

    I have come to believe that Rauner is perfectly happy to see all Illinois burn, so long as organized labor burns with it.

  11. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:39 pm:

    –The mentally ill who are not getting psychiatric services go to emergency rooms or jails and some of the young people who aren’t in out-of-school time and job training programs become involved in the criminal justice system.–

    And emergency rooms, jails, and the criminal justice system are exponentially more expensive to the taxpayers than those programs for which the governor refuses to honor the contracts that his administration signed.

    Being a deadbeat isn’t supposed to cost you more money.

  12. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:39 pm:

    This is what’s needed, push the numbers. Rauner owns this.

  13. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:44 pm:

    That number should speak for itself. Do you “hang in there” people really think it’s worth it? I would hope not.

  14. - AC - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:44 pm:

    Hmm, I wonder how many of the million were in Winnetka or even Lake Forest?

  15. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:55 pm:

    “Excellent! Lots of leverage!” says Fake Gov. Rauner.

  16. - Quizzical - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:59 pm:

    Two things really bug me about this:
    1. All the staffers of these social service agencies being laid off were probably barely solvent before this ‘crisis’ destroyed their jobs. These are idealistic people who were living hand to mouth in order to make the world a better place;
    2. As I walk around Chicago, the ‘hassle’ factor seems to grow every day. I see more people asking for change, more people who appear unstable.

  17. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:00 pm:

    No question that this budget impasse has impacted a lot of lives, but so has spending far more than revenues should allow and the diverting of money from legal obligations such as pensions in order to provide raise and benefit increases that the state can’t afford, as well as generous dollops of patronage and pork, that created the problem.

    Of course, United Way has had its own problems in overhead spending over the years, and I hope that’s not still the case.

    One might ask if having 429 separate agencies to provide these services, each with it’s own overhead and inefficiencies, is the smartest way to deliver these services.

    Good organizations find ways to manage smarter during cash crunches that inevitably happen.

    I wonder why Ms Long hasn’t started down that path yet to minimize client dislocation. I’d love to hear how she would recommend creating synergy and working between these groups to provide better service at lower cost.

  18. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:11 pm:

    here’s hoping that tonight’s/today’s (already hit hard in some places) weather does not provide yet another example of how services are needed, by people in need. flood warnings and torcon number of 6 could mean folks who need food and shelter. think about that, Gov. Rauner. everyone stay safe out there!

  19. - Ottawa - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:12 pm:

    Shakin’ things up…heroic things we’re doin’

  20. - Austinman - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:17 pm:

    And people blame the speaker??? Nope the Governor owns this one.

  21. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:21 pm:

    My colleague from the other side of the aisle, Oswego Willy, is correct.

    United Way, Voices, Illinois Partners, and other human services advocates:

    The time for “studies” was 15 months ago.

    Now is past time for action.

    If your study isn’t linked to a specific solution and a specific call to action involving specific people, it is the opposite of helpful.

    Just talking about how broken things are without offering solutions feeds public despair, and leaves the public vulnerable to scoundrels offering sham, phony ideas.

    And like Willy, let me caution you against blaming “both sides.” Trying to spread the blame so as to offend no one just perpetuates the stalemate. It merely feeds anti-government sentiments when you ultimately need the people to get behind a government solution. And, “spread the blame” thinking ultimately leads to “spread the pain” thinking, which is what has the GOP looking at you and suggesting they aren’t gonna reimburse you fully for services you have already provided.

    the governor didn’t blink when LSSI announced a massive cutback. He is not going to care as the biggest agencies in every county start to close unless you are blaming him personally and directly for every shuttered program.

  22. - Dr X - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:22 pm:

    Dear 1 million collectivists

    You have nothing to lose except your chains.

    Get a job.

    Donna Arduin

  23. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:33 pm:

    One million, that’s a lot of beasts* that got starved this fiscal year Sen. Radogno.

    *A play on the callousness of the “starve the beast” quote from Radogno and not a judgment of those in need who’ve lost services.

  24. - El Conquistador - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:37 pm:

    Running it like a business.

  25. - annon3 - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:48 pm:

    “We’re doing heroic things.”

    Should be “We’re doing horrific things.”

  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:52 pm:

    I tip my cap to my friend on the other side of the aisle - YDD -…

    It has boiled down to… months and months ago…

    Raunerites… taking on Republicans, Democrats, Social Services… and those who actually care about people over an agenda.

    Thanks, - YDD -

  27. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:52 pm:

    “Ron Sandack does NOT care about you.

    I guess Bruce Rauner doesn’t either”

    Dear union members,

    Bruce and his super-rich supporters hate your labor rights this much.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:53 pm:

    - GOM -

    You’re right.

    Exactly right.

  29. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:55 pm:

    Willy and YDD, now that is bipartisanship in action. Both of you are on point. Excellent comments guys!!!

  30. - olddog - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 6:00 pm:

    This is what Rauner intended. He may have accessories, but he said he would “drive a wedge issue in the Democratic Party on that topic and bring the folks who say, ‘You know what, for our tax dollars, I’d rather help the disadvantaged, the handicapped, the elderly, the children in poverty’” than AFSCME. He’s getting exactly what he wanted.

  31. - northsider (the original) - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 6:04 pm:

    —–One might ask if having 429 separate agencies to provide these services, each with it’s own overhead and inefficiencies, is the smartest way to deliver these services——

    Would it be smarter or more economical, streamlined and efficient if we returned to the model of these services for our citizens being performed by state employees, with commensurate ‘overhead’?


  32. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 6:49 pm:

    —–One might ask if having 429 separate agencies to provide these services, each with it’s own overhead and inefficiencies, is the smartest way to deliver these services——

    One might ask that before signing on the line that is dotted. Once you do, it’s a contract.

    That’s supposed to mean something to both parties.

    One side has worked to fulfill those contracts in good faith; one side keeps making up new excuses to not honor those contracts, even after appropriations have been made, without a dissenting vote, by the General Assembly.

    Does that strike you as good faith? Or conservative? Or Republican? Like “contract,” those words are supposed to mean something, too.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 7:45 pm:

    - Norseman -

    Thanks, I just wish Social Services would see blaming both sides is ripping themselves apart.

  34. - illini - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 8:15 pm:

    Thank you Willy, YDD, Norseman and Wordslinger and many others - all to the topic and well stated. Just got back on here after a few hours.

    And I’m not even going to start a conversation with Illinois Bob - those go absolutely nowhere.

    Thanks to everyone who had pertinent comments on this tragedy.

  35. - Tom K. - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 8:31 pm:

    ==Would it be smarter or more economical, streamlined and efficient if we returned to the model of these services for our citizens being performed by state employees, with commensurate ‘overhead’? Doubtful.==

    Two words: Direct Payments. While not appropriate for many of the things social services is trying to help (drug addiction, rape counseling, etc.), for many poor people, receiving a greater subsidy without it being diluted through agency hands first would be a much bigger help.

  36. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 8:59 pm:

    I’d call 1 million people losing needed services a crisis. There is surely some stories of tragic results due to that. Hasn’t seemed to matter- so I’ll revise my previous opinion on it resulting in a budget. These people don’t mean anything to Rauner because he’s well insulated from them. Legislators probably have met some of them. This is beyond sad, Rauner has no interest in governing, yet wants to run again. Why?

  37. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 9:33 pm:

    I’m so glad I didn’t see this earlier. I openly wept. That’s so much larger than I thought. It’s really hard for people who have not been effected by tragedy. poverty, or adversity to understand. I certainly didn’t till my family nearly lost it all. The uncertainty, the shame, the depression. All caused on purpose. This did not have to happen. Suffering made to innocents is evil. It is truly what the bible and every single religion preaches against. I challenge once again the defenders of this evil to give account of themselves and how they have absolutely supported the suffering doled out to our fellow Illinoisans. But I’m sure they won’t. (A Guy, I’m not talking about you. You engaged me and I really respect you now.)

  38. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 10:11 pm:

    Yes, Bob, let’s turn this into criticism of the providers. Classy Bob. Classy.

    ONE MILLION PEOPLE Bob. ONE. MILLION. Does that concern you? Apparently not.

  39. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 10:36 pm:

    This is an unabashed plea. The DeWitt County HRC is a vital part of the Central Ilkinois service provider network. There is still hope to keep the doors open, but time is running out. Too often, people see the news stories of closures, and they feel defeated and just give up. Some may also feel that if we as citizens of Illinois privately pay the gaps that the State rightly owes them, then we let the State off the hook and people like Rauner continue winnin’. But WE need to step up. For HRC or any other provider being forced to work for no pay. I would hope the legislators who SERVE in HRC’s area, who are still
    getting their pay, albeit late, would donate. It would be nice to see the Rauners donate. Here’s is the site-

  40. - Lost in the weeds - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 12:05 am:

    Trying to figure out what will be provided for the common welfare of the people as many existing programs shut down and state employees lose union protection. More cell phones, sneakers,
    bigger houses? What will be the jobs?

  41. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 7:43 am:

    We built a system over years. That system is going away.
    Does anyone have a plan for a new system?

  42. - Dale Cooper - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 8:26 am:

    == This is beyond sad, Rauner has no interest in governing, yet wants to run again. Why? ==

    So he can finish his “job” destroying unions. He gets to decide what his job is, it’s not governing.

  43. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 8:32 am:

    “Does anyone have a plan for a new system?”

    Setting up for profit companies that maximize profits by cutting costs at the expense of the clients.

  44. - Central_IL - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 8:35 am:

    This whole situation is beyond sad, but I’m past blaming Rauner. He will never change. I blame the Republicans for not standing up to him. They live in these places where people are being hurt, but they are proving that money is more important than their constituents. I don’t know how this will ever be solved.

  45. - NSideLady - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:05 am:

    Since these 1 million people required assistance from a social service agency, we can assume they are independently wealthy. I think we can also assume Rauner isn’t all that worried, since these people aren’t likely to vote either. They are collateral damage, in the minds of many Raunerites who don’t believe we should be spending so much money on those people anyway. This is so tragic. We are making the streets more dangerous and placing an additional (and unnecessary) stress upon law enforcement and first responders.

  46. - Formerly Known as Frenchie M - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:06 am:

    What’s said is that many of the folks who feel the impact will still vote for Rauner (and the Illinois GOP in general).

    I suspect Rauner’s operating on the cynical (but probably correct) premise that it doesn’t matter what he does to people — what kind of immense hurt he causes — because most of them will, yet again, cast their vote for him.

  47. - efudd - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:08 am:

    Compassionate Conservatism-
    Didn’t mean a thing from the moment it left Bush Sr.’s lips.
    You want government ran like a business, you got it.
    You want a billionaire that made his fortune skipping out on the check, you got it.

  48. - Rabid - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:14 am:

    Every united way needs a thermometer outside showing how much is owed

  49. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:20 am:

    Wouldn’t it be deliciously ironic if Rauner’s utter destruction of our privatized system for the delivery of social services results in the state having to pull all of these duties back into state agencies, meaning we’d have to hire thousands of new state employees to do the job, and thereby leading to a huge injection of new AFSCME members?

    Heh. Good plan, Governor. Way to save money.

  50. - NSideLady - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:21 am:

    Pardon - I meant we can assume the 1 million people *aren’t* independently wealthy.

  51. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:40 am:

    The median household income in Illinois is $54,000.

    We have a flat tax.

    We desperately need to dump our flat tax in favor of a progressive tax, but for now, if you want a family of four to bang on their governors’ and legislators’ doors and demand that they take more money from them, telling them they aren’t being charitable enough won’t work. Trying to make suburban and downstate legislators feel guilty won’t work. The focus of the message should be self-interest. Some of the comments find a way to work this story into that theme, but the Democrats should be bleating “irreparable damage to the economy” - anything else almost feels like a double-edge sword: true, but at best distracting and at worse counter-persuasive.

  52. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:41 am:

    (And bleating about any programs that primarily hit the middle class, per Rich’s post yesterday)

  53. - Mama - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    I’ll never understand why people with mental health diseases are treated differently than people with other diseases? They are both health issues. Is mental health not covered under Medicaid Insurance?

  54. - RNUG - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 10:40 am:

    Just sitting here shaking my head. Don’t even know where to begin commenting …

    The Raunerite branch of the GOP has achieved o e thing … this life-long GOP supporter won’t be getting any more checks from me, except one to help Sam McCann.

    I don’t support this willful destruction. Yes, I want to see people who are capable of doing so get off welfare and succeed, but destroying the support system that can achieve that goal is not the way to do it.

    And I’m not sure there is a better way to deliver the services. Don’t really see direct payments working because most the people I know who are receiving help are so cash short that spend every dollar they have and still need help; don’t expect they would save any “extra” dollars to purchase the services they receive now.

    And decimating the existing systems just puts more people out of work, creating more people in need of government support and reduces the taxes those people are paying to the State … it’s just a self-fulfilling downward spiral. We need more jobs, not less. And they need to be good jobs, not sub-minimum wage ones that seem to be the current goal.

    I don’t really have any answers but I know we are on the wrong road … and we are there because of one man: Bruce Rauner.

  55. - Groundhog Day - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    This is exactly why I have been of the opinion that Rauner actions/inactions are causing grave harm throughout the state to the most vulnerable. I really do not see why it is important to be polite and soft-spoken about it. It is literally a life or death issue in some cases. And this does not include the blighted futures of those being cheated out of a college education.

    It is infuriating. I will stop short of tripping Goodwin’s law, but I am tempted to go there.

  56. - Rabid - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    Wow an NFL owner that don’t like the united way

  57. - Illinois Bob - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    One of the reason there’s only “sound of crickets” out there on this is that it’s just survey data taken from people who want to get their money flowing again, hardly an “objective” source.

    They’re being advocates for their organizations. I certainly can’t fault them for that.

    On the other hand, is the severity of things like “layoffs” reported accurately, and were those other issues like borrowing only happening because of the budget impasse? To what “severity” of reduced services were those “million” people subjected? Are those “youth programs” now only happening three days per week instead of four?

    I have no doubt the lack of a balanced budget has hurt these agencies. What I resent is taking all this stuff as gospel and overstating the severity of the problems based on “survey” info. I suspect that’s why the media isn’t making a big deal of it.

  58. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    Malfeasance and malpractice can’t even begin to describe what this governor and his super-rich supporters are doing to the state and so many residents who are in need of help. This is on the governor, because he is holding the budget hostage for non-budget demands that he and his legislative allies and supporters should try to pass as stand-alone legislation.

  59. - Mama - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 1:20 pm:

    == Dr X - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:22 pm: ==
    1. What makes you think those people do NOT have a job?
    2. Have you ever heard of the working poor?
    3. There are not enough jobs out there for everyone. That is a fact.

  60. - Anon221 - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 1:21 pm:

    Rauner on Twitter-

    “Visited employees at DHS. They’re helping ensure the state better serves our most vulnerable. Thanks for your work!”


    (Banned word) Hypocrite!!!

  61. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    ==and overstating the severity of the problems ==

    Yes, Bob, it’s a big conspiracy. No problems here. Move along.

    What I resent are people like you making comments such as this.

    ONE MILLION PEOPLE Bob. ONE. MILLION. You tell us all when it’s a problem.

    You never cease to amaze.

  62. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    Really Bob? Now it’s a big conspiracy? No problems here. Move along. It’s all a lie.

  63. - Illinois Bob - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 3:36 pm:


    There you go making things up again, Dem.

    There’s no “conspiracy” here. Just social service bureaucrats looking to alleviate a stressful issue that’s causing them to do less than they’d like for their clients.

    I’d like to see some skepticism about things like this from people like you instead of just putting your mind in neutral and swallowing whatever they’re pitching.

    Of course if you did that, you couldn’t be an Illinois Dem any more, could you?LOL

    Doesn’t it ring any bells for you how that “million” number came up? Sounds awfully big, doesn’t it? I guess something like 700,000 wouldn’t cut it for PR purposes.

    I’m questioning the accuracy of the survey, Dem, not the genuiness of the suffering, which I’m afraid is all too real. Maybe just not to the extent they’re trying to portray…

  64. - Honeybear - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 3:53 pm:

    Demoralized, don’t take the bait. Don’t feed it especially when it’s being sadistic.

  65. - Denisquared - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 4:50 pm:

    Illinois Bob you seem to be a friend of Rauner. What union steward abused him at a young age that he is holding everyone hostage over his hate?

  66. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 6:11 pm:

    Zorn has a great column out now, telling Bruce (that’s what Zorn presumes it’s okay to call him) to drop his non-budget demands.

    There should be more clamor for either the demands to be dropped or Rauner and Democrats work on demands that are doable.

    Rauner can’t pass his non-budget items as stand-alone legislation, so he jams them into budget negotiations and throws a gigantic wrench into the process. Cynical and cruel.

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