State Senator Seth Lewis (R-Bartlett) is demanding that Governor Pritzker rescind a proposal that would significantly reduce service hours for Illinois adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) who live in group homes. Governor Pritzker and his Administration’s Department of Human Services have proposed cutting service hours by 2.5 million in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2025 budget.
Ray Graham Association, located in Lewis’ Senate District, currently houses more than 150 adults in over 25 group homes. According to Lewis, the group homes provide excellent services and help foster a level of independence that would not otherwise be achievable for many of it’s residents.
“I have group homes in the 24th District that would be directly affected by these cuts, and I will do everything in my power to ensure they do not happen,” said Lewis. “Statewide, these devastating cuts would affect about 10,000 of our most vulnerable citizens who rely on their state government for assistance. It simply cannot happen.”
In a letter dated January 17 to Governor Pritzker, Republican Senators pointed out that the cuts equate to a nearly 10% drop in service hours for the ID/D population in group homes at a time when the Governor is channeling hundreds of millions of dollars toward services for non-citizens and asylum seekers. Per the letter, “It’s very difficult to ignore that you’ve increased funding for noncitizens by over a billion dollars across the board, seemingly while your Administration is pushing this rate cut for the developmentally disabled. It’s obvious your priorities are not with the citizens of this state who are the most underserved.”
In a bipartisan effort, legislators from both sides of the aisle successfully advocated for a $2.50 per hour wage increase for Direct Support Professionals in the FY2024 budget, and this proposed decrease in service hour funding more than wipes that additional budget funding away.
“My office has been inundated with calls and emails from family members who worry that these cuts would slow their loved ones’ progress or even set them back,” added Lewis. “State Government’s primary responsibility is to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, and that certainly includes those living with disabilities. Proper care and services for this segment of our population is vital.”
You can read the Senate Republicans’ letter here.