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Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller


Currently, the city uses a national staffing firm to oversee existing brick-and-mortar shelters, but has issued a request for proposals to replace that firm with local organizations.

Pacione-Zayas said the city has received “pretty significant interest” in that opportunity, which could allow them to award contracts for existing shelters as well as the forthcoming tents.

“If we have enough interest of local community-based staffing for all of our shelters plus these tents, we will see if we can plug in to the tents,” she said. “We’re just making sure that we have the baseline staffing period. Usually with GardaWorld they offer the staffing. We need to see if we can negotiate — if we have enough interest of community based and social service agencies — to be able to staff up those tents.” […]

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward, who serves as Johnson’s floor leader, said using local community organizations rather than GardaWorld staff will be imperative

On the surface, this sounds like a great idea. In the real world, though, it risks causing major problems. The reason? Social service agencies are woefully under-staffed as it is. This idea would stretch them even thinner. And that could very well take those agencies away from their core functions.

That’s why workforce development is key. To his credit, Gov. Pritzker seems to recognize this and has supported funding of workforce development programs in several different employment areas.

But there is currently no magic workforce spigot that you can turn on and off at will.

* Just ask the nursing home industry

Following the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ release of its proposed nursing home staffing rule, an Illinois long-term care association is calling it unrealistic.

The proposal calls for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes to provide a staffing equivalent of three hours per resident, per day. The rules also call for facilities to have a registered nurse on staff 24 hours a day, daily.

Angela Schnepf, president and CEO with the nonprofit LeadingAge Illinois, said COVID-19 decimated workforce numbers in long-term care facilities and they haven’t recovered.

“The challenge we had, particularly in the state of Illinois but also nationwide, is nursing homes in particular lost about 15% of their workforce population over COVID, and they have not been able to recover that,” Schnepf told The Center Square.

In Illinois, Schnepf anticipates communities will need to find and hire between 820 to 968 RNs and 7,500 to 8,039 certified nursing assistants. […]

The Biden administration announced plans to launch a national effort to bolster nursing home staffing, including allocating $75 million for initiatives such as scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs.

That ain’t gonna be nearly enough.


  1. - Stephanie Kollmann - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 10:53 am:

    You don’t need to hire 24/7/365 staffing if people are preparing their own meals in their own dwellings and otherwise governing their own lives.

  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 10:59 am:

    The City should be supporting organizations that can process the TPS applications for migrants from Venezuela. I don’t even care if they hire all the cousins in the world for this task.

  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 10:59 am:

    ===if people are preparing their own meals in their own dwellings===

    Totally agreed. I think I saw you say on Twitter that these folks have traveled thousands of miles to get here and so they are obviously able to take care of themselves.

    In my opinion, they should be provided with temporary housing and food vouchers, and be given the opportunity to volunteer their labor to help others so they can stay occupied throughout the day/evening and help them find purpose in their current lives.

    Putting them in concentration camps is not a good idea on any level.

  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 11:03 am:

    “In the real world, though, it risks causing major problems.”

    Technically true. A 99% chance of causing major problems is still only a potential risk and not a certain one.

    Bluntly, this will cause major problems. For the reasons mentioned, and a few big ones not mentioned.

    I’m certainly hoping to see that 1% success. But the vagueness in this discussion of what “community based” means opens the door to start flooding local churches with money to do this staffing at least partially, likely with zero accountability or oversight.

  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 11:04 am:

    Here it is…

  6. - Stephanie Kollmann - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 11:07 am:

    Thank you - YES

    ==In my opinion, they should be provided with temporary housing and food vouchers, and be given the opportunity to volunteer their labor to help others so they can stay occupied throughout the day/evening and help them find purpose in their current lives.

    Putting them in concentration camps is not a good idea on any level.==

    You don’t get community connections and the stability and work opportunities that come from that by being “contained” but by being integrated

  7. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 11:10 am:

    ===Putting them in concentration camps is not a good idea on any level.===

    It’s like Michael Scott from the Office when he describes a pyramid scheme.

  8. - Walker - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 11:38 am:

    We can do better than “refugee camps”

  9. - Peters Piece - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 11:45 am:

    The resiliency of the migrants is awesome. The shelters along the border all seem to be religious functions. While the city remains responsible, I think more effective solutions could be offered by the clergy and their congregations. I have heard of several clergy offering help though no organized effort or mandate from their leadership. The city, suburbs and region needs to row this boat together.
    There are likely untapped and in demand skills among the migrants. So yep lets get them back to meaningful roles.

  10. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 12:46 pm:

    “Hey kids, we’d really appreciate it if you would plan on amassing tens of thousands of dollars of debt to fill urgent needs our society will predictably have.”

    I think the problem is that no one actually asked the above. It was just implied. Want a career in nursing? Well, assume all of the risk of attending school at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars plus interest before even stepping foot on the job to see if you like it.

    In the last 45ish years our society has done everything it could think of to discourage people from fields related to the practice of medicine and is shocked that there is shortages.

  11. - Jerry - Wednesday, Sep 27, 23 @ 1:27 pm:

    The above post from Rich (Stephanie) is spot on. That’s what Pro-Life looks like!

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