CHICAGO (CBS) — Some lawmakers and social service providers are furious at Gov. Pat Quinn and reeling over drastic cuts to substance abuse and mental illness programs.
Twenty-year-old Tatiana Class is a mother of two, an ex-con and a recovering crack addict currently in treatment at Chicago’s Haymarket Center.READ MORE: First Case Of Omicron Variant In Wisconsin Confirmed
“If it wasn’t for them, I would still be using,” Class told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov.
But Tatiana and thousands like her are facing the harsh reality their treatment will end as soon as next month, because of what providers call Quinn’s draconian cuts to human services programs that he made late last Friday night.
Quinn disagreed with that characterization.
“Everyone knows there’s a lump-sum budget,” he said Thursday. “We have to get through this fiscal year in the best way we can.READ MORE: Oak Park And River Forest High School Ban On Activities Due To COVID Outbreak Sparks Outrage
The governor’s current plan cuts all substance abuse and all mental illness programs for people not eligible for Medicaid. It would also slash, by half, support services for families of children with disabilities, by March 15.
Haymarket’s clinical services vice president says lives will be lost.
“Between 7,000 and 10,000 clients will not be able to receive services,” Dr. Dan Lustig says.
That’s just at his center alone. Lustig predicts there will be more crime on the street and more taxpayer dollars will be needed to handle it. He says that will escalate ultimately into $400 million in public expense.
But things may be changing. Quinn says he is working with the state human services secretary to ease the blow on these programs, for now.MORE NEWS: Parents Of Michigan School Shooter Arrested And Charged After Manhunt
Even if that happens, those programs are still set to go away next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The same concerns will just explode all over again.