The following letter appeared in the Evanston Roundtable on May 18, 2017
Last week, we had to lay off five hard-working and dedicated people. This didn’t have to happen.
The State of Illinois currently owes YWCA Evanston/North Shore $280,000 for services rendered to survivors of domestic violence. By June 30, that number will rise to $460,000. We continue to provide emergency shelter, counseling, and legal advocacy for domestic violence survivors and their children, in spite of the State’s current unwillingness to pay. This situation is devastating to us, as it is to many other organizations throughout the state. Many have closed critically needed domestic violence services, and some have had to close their organizations all together.
Domestic violence funding was the not included in the FY17 stopgap budget, meaning that domestic violence agencies have not received state dollars since September of 2016, despite having signed contracts for FY17. HB 3259 was introduced to correct this oversight, and the bill identified available dollars to fund domestic violence services. HB 3259 needs to be called immediately to correct this error. The bill has overwhelming broad bipartisan support with a super-majority in both the Senate and House, support from our two Evanston representatives and state senator, from the 3 legislative leaders – Senate President John Cullerton, Republican Leader, Christine Radogno, and House Majority Leader, Durkin, and from the Governor’s Office. Despite this support, Representative Greg Harris, whose responsibility it is to call the bill, has not done so. We do not understand why the bill has not been called.
You can help:
(1) Call and email House Appropriations Chairperson, Greg Harris and demand he schedule HB 3259 for a hearing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phones: Chicago (773) 348-3434 and Springfield (217) 782-3835
(2) Call and email your state senators and representatives, letting them know that it is important to you that domestic violence services in Illinois are fully funded.
We serve close to 800 survivors of domestic violence each year. They should not bear the brunt of political stalemate and inaction.
Karen Singer, President/CEO
Maureen Kenney, Board Chair
YWCA Evanston/North Shore