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Illinois Women And Mothers Face Tougher Times As Budget Impasse Continues

By aaroncynic in News on May 10, 2016 8:15PM

Photo credit: Ann Hilton Fisher

The state budget impasse is causing more pain for women and mothers, according to a new report released by the Responsible Budget Coalition. Though the odometer is about to turn over to another fiscal year soon, and Illinois has lacked a budget for FY2016. That’s caused extra harm for women and mothers, says the group, which is made up of more than 250 organizations calling for a fully-funded budget.

While many Illinoisans were celebrating their mothers with cards and flowers over the weekend, the report shows an alarming amount of barriers for women and mothers being created by the budget crisis.

“Mothers shouldn’t have to worry about a thing on Mother’s Day, but many moms feared for their lives yesterday and they fear for their lives today. They fear for the lives of their children as well," Yesenia Maldonado, ‎Executive Director of Between Friends, a suburban domestic violence shelter, said in a press release Monday.

According to the report, the state has failed to provide funding for some 75,000 survivors of domestic violence for five months, and some nonprofits providing services have had to make deep cuts or close programs altogether. Additionally, all 29 agencies in the state that provide services for survivors of sexual assault have had staff vacancies left open since July of 2015 and have instituted furloughs.

Women have been disproportionally lacking access to quality jobs and education too, the report says. For exampl, 62 percent of Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for college tuition assistance are female, and the state failed to provide funding for that program for 10 months before lawmakers and the governor passed an emergency payment to provide partial funding. New rules from Gov. Bruce Rauner have increased copays for childcare about 20 percent, and more than 48,000 are enrolled in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program.

“We need our state leaders to put aside non-budget agendas and choose revenue to fund services our moms need,” said Randi M. Gurian, CEO of The Harbour, a nonprofit that helps youth facing homelessness. At least 55 percent of Illinoisans living in poverty are women and nearly 90 percent of agencies providing services to the homeless or people facing homelessness have or will have to reduce services.