Rather, IL Owes SU $455,666.76 as of this morning.  It’s kind of a pick-your-poison thing…what will get us worse (or first)…the delayed payments or the funding cuts.  We believe that things will eventually get better, but are beginning to fear we won’t be around to see the other side.  Still, the dedication of our staff and the support of the Streator Community may prove to be more powerful than a state with poor priorities for its funds.

Grants Article

The Times published an article on the elimination of our grants today.  It’s a scary thing, an not one only happening at Streator Unlimited, but around the state.

It’s very true that Illinois is in great financial trouble, and can’t be everything to everyone.  That’s why it’s so important to prioritize every penny carefully.  As one of our consumers rode his bike to my house Sunday evening at dusk to ask about the future of his program, I pictured all the state ribbon-cuttings for new things I have seen in various newspapers and empathized strongly with the people quoted in this article.  I tried to reassure him without offering false hope, but the subtlety of that escapes even me with my master’s degree and many years of experience.  I worried about him as he left, because his bike didn’t have a light and it was getting dark.

Grants are officially eliminated

Right now we’re feeling like Chicken Little when the sky actually did fall, or like the boy who cried wolf when the wolves really came.  After years of it being cut or threatened to be cut and then restored, our grant funding for the State of Illinois is now officially eliminated.  This amounts to around $148,000/year and critical services for people with developmental disabilities in Streator.

Twenty-four of these people will be eligible to go on the waiting list for funding through the Medicaid Waiver.  Unfortunately, the list is 20,000 people long and very few ever come off it.  The others will no longer be eligible for funding through the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

We grieve this loss.  It will lessen quality of life.  It will result in some people no longer earning money and being taxpayers and in good health and not needing much medical care to people who may be more of a drain on the system, costing more money than is saved in the long run.

That said, Illinois is in a financial crisis and must spend their funds on what they feel (what we tell them) is most important.  We tried to let them know how important these services are, but we were to few people and too small a voice.