As the state budget impasse continues to linger, the debt owed to social and human service agencies continues to climb. Services provided by these agencies are being threatened and in some instances, discontinued. Although Caritas Family Solutions is in financially stable condition, our agency is owed more than $350,000 for services already performed to date, including multisystemic therapy for at-risk youth and assisting living support for low-income seniors.
At the beginning of FY16, Caritas and hundreds of other nonprofits, in good faith, signed contracts with the State of Illinois to provide essential services to qualified residents. We have been upholding our contractual obligations and continue to do so but the State has not been paying us. As any business would, we expect to be paid for the services rendered. For this reason, Caritas has joined Pay Now Illinois, a coalition with 81 other Illinois-based social and human service agencies who filed a lawsuit on May 4, 2016 against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the directors of six statewide agencies. The lawsuit seeks immediate payment owed for work performed under contracts that date back to July 1, 2015, the beginning of the state’s fiscal year. This is not a political dispute; it is just good business. The value of unpaid contracts for the members of the coalition exceeds $130 million dollars.
Many members of the coalition, who provide services including housing for the homeless, healthcare services for senior citizens, sexual abuse counseling and programs for at-risk youth such as Multisystemic Therapy, face acute financial hardship and have had to reduce staff and programs. The viability of some of the organizations is threatened. The budget impasse has put many vulnerable families and individuals in difficult and sometimes desperate situations. We continue to advocate for our clients and partner agencies in distressed situations.
The budget impasse creates financial uncertainty for our services. It also puts our clients who receive additional assistance, such as child care or housing, at risk and jeopardizes their opportunities to better themselves and their families. We ask that you stay informed on this issue and aware of how it is impacting your community. Please join us in advocating for our friends and neighbors to receive the assistance that they so desperately need. Contact your state legislators and our governor to express your views.