I’ts a very rough time for recruitment and retention of staff for those incredibly important direct care positions. The problem is state-wide. No increase in 10 years, plus cuts to our grants in the meantime, makes it hard to offer competitive wages. It’s unfortunate–we’ve lost staff who love our consumers and the work they do with them, but who need to make a living wage. There is a bill in the house at the moment to raise these wages to $15/hour. It is here.
We miss getting outside in the winter, but we find ways to enjoy our time indoors.
The Illinois United Way put out a survey of the impact of the budget impasse here in Illinois. Simply put, it has been horrific. As for the impact on SU, it has been thankfully minimal. Because of court orders we have continued to be paid for our services. The only thing that hasn’t been paid has been our janitorial contract at the Illinois State Police Headquarters in LP. We haven’t been paid since July 1 due to there being no state budget this fiscal year. We can’t imagine where we’d be right now were it not for the court order for our services. There are many agencies without court orders for their services and they are having a very difficult time.
Separate from that, we desperately need an increase in funding. On the one hand, it seems crazy to say so at this time. On the other, we’re having trouble keeping up with salaries and expenses after ten years without any funding increase plus those cuts to our workshop grant. We having filled our last three day program positions that opened up and are not bringing workshop consumers in when there’s no work for them. This is hard on them in terms of income, and hard on some families as they need to find supports for their child during the day.