State of the States

The annual State of the States survey is out. Noted was that 14 states (not Illinois) no longer have state institutions.  We are behind Texas and New Jersey as the third highest institutional census.  We are number one in utilization of 7-15 person residential settings.  The new home will allow SU to downsize Knox from 16 to 8 people, but even fewer housemates would be ideal.  What adult wants 7 or more housemates that they didn’t even get to choose?  Illinois is ranked #40 in fiscal effort to support people with developmental disabilities.  We would need to nearly double our effort to make the top ten.  We are ranked 47 on Waiver spending (the kind of spending that allows people more control over their services).

We are also near the top on being behind in paying service providers.  Pre-Halloween, here’s a scary story highlighting the challenges of not being paid for a very long time.  Here is a similar story, and finally, one more of them.

How is SU doing?  About as one might expect.  At the end of September, we had received around $55,000 in payments from the state this fiscal year as compared to our expenses of $580,000 in that 3-month period.  The State of Illinois currently owed SU $368,948, as of September 30.  We had borrowed $30,000 on our line of credit to make our most recent check run, and had enough credit left to pay our employees and bills for four more weeks.  Fortunately, Illinois has an expedited payments program if a provider can demonstrate they’ll actually go out of business if the state doesn’t start paying them.  After much questioning and scrutiny, we were able to prove exactly that and were approved for six month’s worth of speeded-up payments.  The first couple of times we had to do this it really panicked us.  Now we’re a little bit more used to it but really don’t like having to go right up to the edge of the abyss like that.

It’s been a scary few years, state funding-wise.  Between the funding cuts and late payments we’ve had to cut back on a lot of the things we do.  We are fortunate to have a dedicated staff and incredibly supportive community.

And then we have that odd juxtaposition of the state-funded financial abyss we have been skirting with the wonderful things we’ve been able to do with the ARRA funds for the new group home and shredding business.  We find that both weird and wondrous.

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