Nearly 1 million fewer Illinoisans are receiving health and human services as a direct result of the budget impasse, according to a new survey by the United Way of Illinois.
The survey, conducted June 1 through June 8, includes responses from 429 human services agencies that receive state funding and cover a range of programs in the areas of youth development, early childhood education, mental health, emergency housing, senior services and employment training.
Here are the key findings of the survey:
* 54% of survey respondents anticipate they will have to cease serving clients in six months if the impasse continues
* Almost two-thirds of survey respondents reported making program and/or operational cuts, up from 48% in January 2016
* Of those agencies, 91% have cut the number of clients they serve, leaving nearly 1 million clients in Illinois without critical support, most significantly in the areas of mental health, substance abuse services and childhood education
* More than 50% of safety net and mental health providers indicated they could not meet the needs of their clients for the past year due to the impasse
Additionally, the surveyed showed that 45 percent of agencies have laid off staff, 59 percent have tapped their cash reserves and 33 percent have accessed lines of credit.
If the budget impasse continues, 36 percent of agencies say they will likely have to shut down in six months.
"We honestly wished we would have different news" United Way of Illinois Board Chair Kristi Long said in a statement. "The survey results show accelerating damage since January--more program cuts, more clients left unserved, more debt. The mentally ill, disabled seniors and young children in need of educational opportunities--these people can't wait for the next election."