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Hiba Hammadi
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

LLSIphotoI work in the residential group home for highly functioning persons with mental illness. I love my clients and the work that I do, however the budget impasse has made it difficult for me to continue to provide compassionate care. Without state funding, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois was forced to shut down 30 programs and lay off 43% of its employees, 750 mental health professionals. As the largest social service provider in the state, LSSI’s closures will greatly impact thousands of families across the state. The result is 4,700 seniors, young people, people who suffer from mental illness, people who suffer from addiction, adults with disabilities, and veterans will no longer have access to vital services.

In my group home, we are no longer unable to provide our clients basic necessities like bottled water. We are spending less on food, and we have a limited amount of milk to hand out. Recently, our 16 passenger van broke down and since then we cannot afford to get it fixed. Residents are disheartened we can no longer go out on recreational outings to decompress such as visiting museums and going out for hot dogs or parks.

We have three group homes in total, and one of them has completely ended their overnight programs. Clients in all three homes have lost access to day programs that support and empower clients reintegrate into the community. The state’s failing to pass a budget is affecting our clients’ well-being. Cuts to these vital psychosocial rehabilitation services have had a significant negative impact on my clients’ quality of life.

Time to Get Our Money Back

Wall Street banks suckered the State of Illinois into risky financial deals that they said would us money. But instead of saving money the opposite happened. Since the financial crash, these financial deals have cost Illinois taxpayers more than half a billion dollars, while our state cuts vital services needed to keep our communities healthy and safe.

In other parts of the country these bad deals have been renegotiated but in Illinois politicians have refused to go after Wall Street banks. Instead Governor Rauner has chosen to cut from childcare, domestic violence, homeless shelters, and other vital services.

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