Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homeless Shelters May Have To Cut Services

According to NBC5, "Nearly one-fifth of the city's homeless population could be out in the cold if one of the largest community-based organizations in Chicago doesn't find relief from a massive funding deficit. The Inner Voice was founded in 1984 by Rev. Robert Johnson as a soup kitchen and since then has been operating seven shelters around the city. But a $300,000 deficit may force the agency to cut hundreds of beds."

According to Inner Voice's website, it has far more than seven shelters, as mentioned above. Four of its shelters are in the Uptown area: REST (2), Sylvia Center and Cornerstone; with a fifth, Epworth (an overnight shelter that brings its guests to Uptown during the day), in Edgewater.


  1. Its too bad we didn't have any of that extra "Fish Farm" money lying around.....

  2. The state's funding for human services has been gutted. Not a percentage reduction, not a margin adjustment, a wholesale gut.

    Can HS providers improve program efficiencies, accountability, and efficacy? Of course. Always. That's a constant. But when human services funding is held at 50%, it stands to reason that painful and costly consequences, ones that reach beyond the clients served, are inevitable.

  3. Its sad to see people out in the old but the neighborhood would be better off with fewer shelters and this is likely the only way that they will ever leave the area. We can only hope that the displaced people are able to find beds in shelters in other neighborhoods.

    One likely solution is that Helen steps up with TIF money to keep the places in Uptown open much the same way she did to keep some of the Voice of the People buildings open.

  4. Maybe her buddy Tom Tunney in Lakeview can open a couple of shelters in Lakeview or Vi Daley could open some in Lincoln know, spread the wealth so to speak...

  5. No one is better off if people are out in the cold, Cowboy. Even you. When the "safety net" fails, whether that's here in Uptown or some other place, we all pay. We pay more taxes for delayed health care costs and for deferred housing / placement costs and for longer training and transitional service times.

    Hope? That will not provide the additional shelter beds that are needed. Nor will it work to induce "other neighborhoods" to accept what many now in Uptown reject.

  6. I just saw this story yesterday. Has there been any official statement from Shiller/Harris/Steans/any other elected officials?
    No matter your position on number of shelters in the area/how well they operate, closing as many down as are listed come Jan 2010 is going to have a HUGE impact on the area.

    Suzanne stated that the State gutted the funding for these programs. I wonder if that money is what the shelters were counting on (the 300K). I *did* get some literature from Senator Steans and she state that the State passed a Capital budget. Did they do it at the expense of these funds?

  7. I'm familiar with the R.E.S.T. Shelter and the clowns that stay there, the neighborhood would be a lot better without it, honestly. Only my opinion.

  8. Freddie: The capital bill is separate from the state's annual operating budget, which is where funding for human services, education, etc. is drawn.

    The funding cuts in human services are due in part to the recession. The recession has cause state tax revenues to fall about 25%. Even in better times, though, state revenue doesn't cover expenses and the gap is so large that cutting alone won't solve the problem. When there's a disconnect between revenue and expense like this, it's called a structural deficit and man are we deficient ;-)

    As for the capital bill, the infrastructure additions and improvements are less and less likely to be realized because one of the primary revenue sources built into the bill to pay for these projects---video gaming---is being rejected county by county throughout the state.

  9. through the capital budget Steans wrote in $100K to Epworth to fix their windows in the shelter.

    The funding through Innervoice should not change in fact, funds have been allocated.

    When REST was the provider they paid Epworth $1300 in rent, way below market and support for the shelter, what did they do with the money? Since Cornerstone took it over they pay double, $2600, same funds through Inner Voice. In essense they preceived as stealing from Epworth and the shelter, thats why Epworth was kicking them out last year at this time. Only REST was allowed at the table with the Alderman and smashing Epworth with lies. The neighborhood worked hard to get Epwroth at the table so equally would be establish and throw REST out, and the shelter. The neighborhood did not know that another provided would be offered up, much to the disappointment to several people in the area. Thank goodness it all worked out with the new provider and they have been 1000 times better provider and neighbors then REST.

    Forensic accounting is what is needed for REST and Inner Voice. There is a lot of hanky panky with these funds and there seems to be litte oversite.

  10. "Forensic accounting is what is needed for REST and Inner Voice. There is a lot of hanky panky with these funds and there seems to be litte oversite."

    When you say "forensic accounting", what do you mean? I think all businesses (nursing homes) and organizations providing services should be under strict scrutiny if they are receiving any kind of state/federal funding, but is this a case of Inner Voice having some management positions that earn a ridiculous salary, or like Suzanne says, the money they were expecting is down from an overall recession effect?

    I don't get the impression that the shelter employees are pulling down huge salaries, but I could be wrong. 300K dived up among the 40 positions listed to be cut is not big money. If there is "hanky panky", at what level?