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Blagojevich Budget Cuts Push Homeless Women,
Children out of Housing, Drug Treatment

Senate Urged to Return to Springfield, Override Veto

David Ormsby 312.342.9638
Sara Moscato Howe: 217.816.7799

August 1, 2008 - (Chicago, IL) – More than 50 women and their kids will be soon kicked out of their housing drug treatment programs in Alsip because of state budgets cuts made by Governor Rod Blagojevich to alcohol and drug abuse treatment and recovery programs.

A Safe Haven, a facility for homeless and drug-addicted mothers and their children, lost the majority of funding for their "Women with Children Program." The $1.3 million program lost $900,000 of their funding, says Brian Rowland, the founder and C.E.O. of A Safe Haven.

About 51 of the 120 women and children in the program are being redirected to a local church, says Rowland.

"It's devastating," he explains. "These are people who have nowhere to go. You can't just put women and children in the street."

Blagojevich $55 million from addiction treatment services and also line-item vetoed money from specific programs: victims of domestic violence, women returning from incarceration, youth treatment, youth in the court system, and women receiving federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families who require treatment to be employed.

Only July 16, the House was able to override only $43 million of the vetoed money. The Senate has yet to act.

If the Governor’s cuts remain, the Illinois Department of Human Services-Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse will also lose $55 million in federal matching funds and witness its $253 million annual budget fall by $110 million, or 43%.

A 43% budget reduction will eliminate treatment for 42,140 people out of 98,000 currently served by state-financed community providers, Moscato Howe estimates.

“These cuts will swamp Illinois hospital emergency rooms and local jails with thousands from the fallout of untreated addiction,” said Moscato Howe.

Additionally, the loss of the Federal dollars will eliminate the state’s community-based prevention system, because it will lose more than 85 percent of its existing funding

“Without the Federal money, every community-based prevention provider will be shuttered,” said Moscato Howe.

“We urge Senate President Emil Jones to return to Springfield and override the Governor’s vetoes and prevent homeless women and children from being kicked out of their housing and drug treatment,” said Moscato Howe.