Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Chicago Uptown Ministry to Close By End Of June

The state budget crisis has claimed another social service agency here in Uptown.

Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois made what it described as an agonizing decision earlier this month to restructure and cut back on its statewide programming. Unfortunately, one of the nine programs that will be closed is Chicago Uptown Ministry, located at 4720 Sheridan.

According to its website, Chicago Uptown Ministry provides "a food pantry [that] serves as a bridge to a number of other services including: ESL classes, after-school programming, art classes, piano lessons, AA meetings, support groups, senior services, workshops, parish nursing, substance-abuse treatment referral services and social-justice advocacy."

LCFS's decision on what programs to cut is based on its core mission: providing care to neglected and abused children and their families. About 100 employees statewide will be laid off, approximately a quarter of LCFS's total staff. It also based its decisions on what other social services were available to take over the needs of the clients of each of the discontinued programs.

Of course it has to do with money. "LCFS’ current financial challenges resulted from trying to meet the needs of too many diverse groups, which overburdened the organization with trying to find necessary long-term funding needed to sustain those disparate services.

"In addition, payments from the State of Illinois for core programs such as youth residential services, no longer cover the cost of providing quality services to traumatized children and families. Over the years, LCFS sought private dollars to cover stagnant rates for services that did not keep up with rising cost of providing services."

LCFS is a statewide agency that has been around 145 years. In addition to Chicago Uptown Ministry, it will be closing these programs:
  • Financial Education, Chicago
  • Hardin Food Pantry, Hardin
  • Little Village Food Pantry, Chicago
  • Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center, Addison
  • Lutherbrook Academy, Addison
  • Nice Twice Thrift Shop, Mt. Vernon
  • Senior Care Services, Chicago
  • Veterans Assistance Program, Decatur
We have to wonder how many other programs will be lost before the state can agree on a budget.

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