State Sen. Bill Haine (left) tours Impact CIL in Alton on June 22.
ALTON — State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) continued his tour of human service agencies on Wednesday by visiting Impact CIL in Alton to see how the budget impasse continues to affect human service agencies and the citizens of his district.
Impact CIL, an organization that helps the disabled, has a sign posted on its front door that reads, “Due to the state budget impasse our office will be closed on Fridays until further notice.” A step inside and the employees and Executive Director Cathy Contarino will give testament to just how dire the situation is.
“The services that Impact CIL provides helps people to live independently in the community, which in turn saves the state money,” Contarino said. “Without our services, individuals could be forced back into living in a nursing home or another institution with no quality of life.”
Because of the impasse, the organization has been forced to lay off three employees. Others have had to take a reduction in salary, and some forced to take furlough days.
Contarino went on to explain how the budget impasse has been devastating not only to the individuals Impact CIL serves, but also its staff.
“We have staff who are about to lose their homes because we have been forced to go on a permanent furlough,” Contarino said. “We need to find a compromise and a solution. We need our government officials to work together, and for the governor to stop playing politics and come up with a solution.”
Before adjourning in May, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 2038, a stopgap budget for social services. The measure would free up state funding to keep organizations like Impact CIL afloat.
“This situation is just catastrophic,” Haine said. “I visit these organizations that provide these essential services and I am hearing the same devastating story over and over again. The governor has a plan on his desk that we passed in a bipartisan fashion that would help to alleviate these issues. I just don’t understand why he is dragging his feet on this.”
Impact CIL provides services such as helping people live independently, providing important information to the disabled, peer counseling and training to help people live independently. It serves people in Madison, Calhoun, Jersey, Greene, Macoupin and Bond counties.