Whose Life Is it?

Some people from SU went to a self-advocacy day in Bloomington called It’s My Life. It was about people with disabilities speaking up for themselves and achieving their own goals and dreams in their lives.

As one participant noted: it wasn’t very many years ago we didn’t know we could speak up for ourselves. I’m glad I learned I could.

New Baler

Our new baler arrived this morning. We purchased this with ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) Funds through the Department of Human Services/Division of Rehabilitation Services. We have also purchased other items for our future mobile shredding business: tables, bins. On order is a new forktruck, shredder, and a hard drive shredder for computer hard drives. Finally the truck will be ordered as soon as a few more details are worked out. This will be a great opportunity for SU to generate some income to support our services, once everything’s in place.

How on earth did Amber both take this photo and get her elbow in it at the same time? Mysterious...

Ligas Settlement

The Ligas lawsuit settlement has been approved. This is great news for people with developmental disabilities who live in large residential settings. They will be allowed to take their funding with them and transition to smaller settings. Over the next few years the settlement will also require Illinois to take 3,000 people off the 21,000-person PUNS waiting list. That’s a 1/7 chance for the consumers at SU who are on that list. If they get funded, it will allow SU to get paid for their services and give them additional supports as well. Great news, but still unfortunate that positive change in Illinois has to come through legal action rather than the leadership of our elected officials.

Garden’s In

We got our garden planted last week. As you can see by the photo, it made it through the weekend! Thank you to the many people who donated their surplus seeds and plants. Based on our experience last year, gardening has proven to be a very pleasant activity (if it isn’t too hot out) and source of tasty veggies for our consumers. We also have a small garden out by Knox and Fitzsimmons.

There was one article on the state budget today. We continue to await news of how the budget passed will specifically affect SU.

State Budget Update

Here’s an article on the state budget. As community-based human services, we’re used to getting the worst of it, unfortunately.

We are awaiting more details of how this will impact SU’s state funding for FY12, which begins July 1. DHS was cut overall, but where the cuts come was not specified in the budget that went to the governor. We hear there are two possibilities: rates will not be cut but payments will be later, or, rates will be cut but payments won’t be as late. If we could choose, we’d want the rates to not be cut. If Illinois cuts the rates, they will be giving up federal medicaid match money, which doesn’t seem wise. That’s not to say the late payments aren’t a serious challenge.

It would be a novel experience to know what our state funding is before having to budget for the coming fiscal year. In the past few years the budget hasn’t been passed until July or even August, and it was a stressful rollercoaster of cuts threatened and rescinded and put back in and changed or taken out. Hopefully we’ll have all the details soon.