Illinois Homeless Out Of Luck Because Of Budget Impasse

Feb 29, 2016

Illinois groups that help homeless youths recently asked Gov. Bruce Rauner to support legislation releasing money state money to them. They had hoped he would supporting funding they say they need to continue operating, but they said Rauner turned them down.

The state usually pays for housing and other services for homeless teens and adults aged 14-to-24 years old. But, the lack of state budget means there's no money going to these groups. Shelters are closing and programs to prevent homelessness are shutting down after months with no state funding.

Julie Dworkin, director of policy for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, says the governor would only support releasing some federal funding.​

"We're just very disappointed that the governor could sit in a room with homeless youth and hear their stories and then take no action whatsoever to help the situation," she said.

 Rauner says he has donated from his personal fortune to help homeless veterans. But he says Illinois government cannot afford to help.

"The sad fact is we won't have the money unless we grow and we stop having these deficit spending," he said.

Many other social service agencies contracted by the state are also struggling without funding.

The millions that the state collects to help the homeless may not just sit untouched. Lawmakers could sweep the fund, and use the money to pay for something else. The state has more than $7 billion dollars in unpaid bills.​