LSSI Announces Major Cuts
As many are aware, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois recently announced major cuts – with plans to close 30 programs and eliminate more than 750 positions (over 40% of their work force). Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is the largest statewide provider of social services in the state, providing critical programs to the state’s most vulnerable residents including;
- foster care
- mental health services
- alcohol and drug treatment
- affordable senior housing
- residential programs for people with developmental disabilities
- programs that help formerly incarcerated individuals integrate back into society
LSSI has been around since 1867, and last year served 73,000 people through 190 programs at 85 sites across Illinois…so what happened??
To answer that question we look to Springfield (Illinois’ state capitol) and the decisions, or lack of decisions, made by the Governor and the Illinois legislature last year. Illinois’ fiscal year began July 1, 2015, however due to the inability of the Governor and the Legislature to agree on and pass a state budget, social service providers like LSSI have not been paid for contracted services with the state in 7 months.
“The state’s budget deadlock has severely challenged LSSI’s ability to provide services to those in need,” said Mark A. Stutrud, LSSI President and CEO. “Over the past months, LSSI has relied on a bank line of credit and available resources from our foundation to compensate for the state’s inability to pay its bills. Currently, we are owed more than $6 million by the state for services delivered. After seven months, we can no longer provide services for which we aren’t being paid.”
As we empathize with our Lutheran partners in service as they navigate this tragic situation, we are once again reminded of the important role public policy and advocacy plays for nonprofits organizations like Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, and Lutheran Family & Children’s Services of Missouri. While we recognize that advocacy does not guarantee the ideal results – LSSI has been a strident advocate at the capitol for the clients and their programs – it is still a very important instrument available to nonprofits and one that cannot be ignored.
At Lutheran Family & Children’s Services of MO, our Advocacy program works to support our mission by promoting public education and policy changes that benefit our clients and our programs. Like LSSI, a significant focus of our advocacy efforts are related to budget. We also work with legislators on other important issues like ensuring adequate supports for pregnant women, as well as the safety and wellbeing of children in child care settings.
Please consider joining us in these efforts – the more voices we have the more influence we wield. Join the LFCS Online Advocacy Network to receive Legislative Updates, Calls to Action and to become a part of a statewide effort working to improve the lives of millions of Missourians.
With your help, we can work to ensure that Missouri programs stay funded and supported.
For more information about Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, please click here