Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is the latest victim of the state's budget impasse. The organization announced the layoff of 750 staffers, 43 percent of its workforce, Friday as a direct result of the ongoing lack of a state budget.
Lutheran Social Services is also cutting 30 programs that serve some 4,700 Illinoisans. Mental health service programs in Des Plaines, Elmhurst, Downers Grove, Prospect Heights, Wheaton and Villa Park are shuttering along with six drug and alcohol residential rehab programs that are closing in Elgin and Chicago. Homeless shelters will also be affected by the program cuts.
The state owes the organization, which has been operating on fundraising money and bank credit, more than $6 million. It is unlikely that the programs will reopen once a state budget is passed, because there is no guarantee that Lutheran Social Services will get the money back it is owed by the state.
"This is something we've dealt with in the past and it comes down to being wily with our own budget, but never to this extent," Lutheran Social Services of Illinois spokeswoman Barb Hailey told the Daily Herald. "We just can't provide these services anymore, so we've eliminated spending that's linked to nonpayment of services."
The state of Illinois has been operating without a budget since July 1. Gov. Bruce Rauner failed to immediately respond to requests for comment on the latest effects of the budget standoff.